littleBits Announces Winners of National Competition Featuring the Droid Inventor Kit, Toy Association’s “Creative Toy of the Year”
Kathleen Kennedy, Daisy Ridley, and Kelly Marie Tran As Part of Judging Panel for Competition; Six Inventors Celebrated for Getting Creative with Technology
New York – April 6, 2018 – littleBits, the electronics company that empowers kids to be inventors, today announced the winners of a massive nationwide contest, the littleBits Competition: Droid Inventor Kit. As part of the competition, the company collaborated with Lucasfilm to challenge kids to think outside the box and invent their own custom Droids using littleBits’ award-winning Droid Inventor Kit.
“Our mission at littleBits is to inspire kids of all backgrounds and genders to get excited about STEAM,” said Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits. “We made the Droid Inventor Kit not as a finished toy for them to play with, but as a launchpad for creativity and invention. We’re thrilled to have won the Toy Industry Association’s Creative Toy of the Year, but we are even more gratified to see our vision carried out by these creative kids as you see in the competition.”
The littleBits Competition: Droid Inventor Kit invited kids, families, and Star Wars fans in the U.S., U.K., and Canada to share their own unique Droid creations with the global inventor community. Of more than 300 creative submissions received during the competition, more than 50 percent were from young female inventors. Each submission was judged on creative use of materials, inventiveness, and a video presentation. The panel of judges comprised accomplished female business and entertainment role models including:
- Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO at littleBits
- Kathleen Kennedy, president at Lucasfilm
- Daisy Ridley, the actress who portrays Rey in the current Star Wars trilogy
- Kelly Marie Tran, the actress who portrays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
“I was really struck by how innovative and creative these kids are, and what a fantastic sense of humor they have,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “The submissions were truly inspiring, and I’m hopeful their enthusiasm for inventing will become a lifelong passion.”
Three winners were chosen in each of two categories — beginner, or “Padawan Learner” and advanced, or “Jedi Master.” Entrants were judged on creative use of materials, inventiveness, and their video presentation. Two first-prize winners received all-expenses-paid, VIP trips to Lucasfilm + $500 littleBits bucks; two second-prize winners received an R2-D2 replica signed by the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi + a littleBits Code Kit; and the two third-prize winners received a $200 Disney shopping spree + littleBits swag.
Beginner: Padawan Learners Category
- R2-Rock Lifter: Carter B., age 11, uses the Droid Inventor Kit’s Force Mode to lift “rocks” (i.e. balloons) at her command.
- This is the Droid You’re Looking For: Riley M., age 13, recreates the iconic X-wing using cardboard, clothes hangers, duct tape, and a Droid Inventor Kit.
- R2BCalm: Hollister M., age 8, helps children with autism stay calm in challenging situations by sensing noise and sharing tools like fidget spinners or headphones.
Advanced: Jedi Masters Category
- MSE-BBIN: Sunil J., age 38, creates a custom Droid for home surveillance.
- O2: Graciela L., age 13, works with her custom Droid to recognize harmful gases in the atmosphere.
- Coding Art Bot: Sylvia D., age 13, combines her love for coding and art to program her Droid to create a secret message.
There were hundreds of submissions from cities like Denver, Colorado to Etobicoke, Ontario. Fifty-one percent of the entries featured female inventors, whose entries pointed to some unique trends. For example, girls like to create a storyline: rehearse a script, play a role, add drama. Many of their projects were meant to help their siblings, create art, take care of pets, or assist with household chores like cooking or cleaning.
For more information, visit www.littleBits.com.
littleBits empowers kids around the world to become inventors. Founded in 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, its innovative platform of easy-to-use electronic blocks allows anyone to create and prototype with electronics, independent of age, gender or technical ability. As the leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) learning, littleBits believes in creating the conditions of invention by creating products that encourage self-directed exploration and problem solving; support grit and tenacity; and create a safe place to experience both failure and accomplishment. The company is dedicated to successfully bridging the gender gap with its gender-neutral platform, attracting an industry high thirty five percent of young girls to invent with littleBits. By embracing STEAM, both girls and boys can invent solutions to the problems that matter to them. The company’s products have won over 150 industry awards in the toy and education industries. littleBits is headquartered in New York. For more information and inspiration, go to www.littleBits.com.
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