Why She’s a MAKER: She designs electronics, runs a business, has millions of followers on social media and launched that other makers movement—the one focused on building stuff. Limor Fried earned a degree from MIT and wears glasses, but with her pink locks, SoHo style and high energy, she’s redefining what a tech innovator looks and acts like.
DIY Kid: Fried grew up outside of Boston and shared a passion for electronics with her father. “My father is a professor of mathematics. He would bring home these early computers, so I naturally spent time with them. I loved being creative, and I loved building stuff, making stuff, and taking stuff apart, understanding how they work.”
Peer-to-Peer Engineer: When Fried landed at MIT, everyone shared code. She took it a step further, sharing her electronic gadgets and launching the “open-source” hardware movement. “I was soaking in this idea: if you’re creating new technology, new capabilities, you have to give it away. Otherwise, you’re being kind of selfish.” She’d post online what she’d built and sell kits so others could build it, too. Today, her company Adafruit Industries—named after computer programming pioneer Ada Lovelace—sells kits for making everything from clocks to illuminated costumes.
Reformatted Image: In 2011, Fried was the first female engineer featured on the cover of Wired. (What took so long?!) “The traditional image of an engineer is being changed. Right now, the people who are building electronics in my community, they’re not what people would traditionally look at as an engineer.” But that’s all about to change. One young girl who avidly watches Fried’s online workshops, recently turned to her dad and said, “Wow, this is so cool. Can boys be engineers, too?”