Adafruit Industries is an open-source hardware company based in New York City. It was founded by Limor Fried in 2005, in her Massachusetts Institute of Technology dorm room. The company designs and manufactures a number of electronics products, sells a wide variety of electronics components, tools, and accessories via its online storefront, and produces a number of learning resources, including written tutorials, introductory videos for beginners, and the longest running live video electronics show on the internet. All Adafruit products are manufactured in their 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) factory in SoHo, Manhattan. In 2013, the company took in US$22 million in revenue, and had shipped over a million products in 480,000 orders, and in January 2016, the company accepted its one millionth order.
The name Adafruit comes from Fried's online moniker "ladyada", itself an homage to computer science pioneer Ada Lovelace. The company's goal is to get more people involved in technology, science and engineering. Project kits are designed to deliver practical systems—not simply academic exercises—and to encourage more women into the field.
Limor Fried, then a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began selling electronic kits on her website for her own designs in 2005. She later moved to New York City to found Adafruit Industries. In 2010, Adafruit offered a US$1,000 (equivalent to $1,098 in 2016) reward for whoever could hack Microsoft's Kinect to make its motion sensing capabilities available for use for other projects. This reward was increased to $2000 and then $3000 following Microsoft's concerns about tampering. In 2013, the company had $22 million in revenue; for 2014 increased to $33 million.
In addition to distributing third party components and boards such as the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi, Adafruit develops and sells its own development boards for educational and hobbyist purposes. In 2016, the company released the Circuit Playground, a board with an Atmel ATmega32u4 microcontroller and a variety of sensors. It, like many Adafruit productions, is circular in shape for ease of use in wearable electronic projects, along with the FLORA, the companies official wearable electronics development platform. Becky Stern hosted a weekly web show dedicated to wearable electronics for Adafruit on their YouTube channel.
NeoPixel is Adafruit's brand of individually-addressable red-green-blue (RGB) LED. They are based on the WS2812 LED and WS2811 driver, where the WS2811 is integrated into the LED, for reduced footprint. Adafruit manufactures several products with NeoPixels with form factors such as strips, rings, matrices, Arduino shields, traditional five-millimeter cylinder LED and individual NeoPixel with or without a PCB. The control protocol for NeoPixels is based on only one communication wire. Adafruit provides an Arduino library to help with the programming of NeoPixels. In addition to the traditional RGB technology, Adafruit manufactures a red-green-blue-white (RGBW) variant of NeoPixel for all products except those that feature a NeoPixel Mini 3535. Those integrate an additional white LED in the package for extra possible color mixes and selectable white color temperature (the company sells single NeoPixels with a 6000K, 4500K and 3000K color temperature).
The Feather development boards constitute Adafruit's new platform of "Arduino-like" boards. The first one, the Feather 32u4 Basic Proto, was released on November 4, 2015. The boards all share similarities in that they have the same form factor, same pinout, similar microcontrollers, feature lithium polymer battery charging and are usually released every Wednesday since the first one on Adafruit's live electronics show "Ask an Engineer". Each board has a special feature in addition to the microcontroller breakout, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular network connectivity or built-in prototyping space or SD card communication. The name "Feather" comes from the fact that the boards are small, thin, light and easily work with a battery, allowing you to untether your project from the wall or from a computer. In addition to the boards themselves, Adafruit engineers and manufactures "Feather Wings", which are expansion cards allowing the addition of features such as an LCD, a NeoPixel array or DC motor drivers.
In addition to manufacturing and selling electronic devices, Adafruit regularly publishes tutorials featuring their products. The tutorials show how to build projects, highlighting their products' abilities and strengths. The site hosts close to 950 guides and articles written by a few collaborators, not all of them full-time Adafruit employees. The guides range from teardowns of existing wearable electronic devices to 3D printing projects to overview and introduction of Adafruit merchandise and more.
Adafruit Industries has a substantial presence on the online video streaming website YouTube. The channel has been active since April 2, 2006. The company was awarded a YouTube Silver Play Button in August 2015 for having surpassed 100,000 subscribers. Adafruit creates different types of videos, all treating about electronics, and most of them featuring one of their products. Each week for at least six years, several live shows are streamed.
This weekly show was started in 2010 in Fried's living room. The concept was that viewers could ask her any questions about engineering while she was assembling electronics kit and Phillip Torrone, her spouse, was preparing shipments. The show is broadcast on YouTube and Ustream and behind-the-scenes content is streamed to Periscope. The company prides themselves by stating that this is the longest-running electronics live show. Some of the sections of the stream are new products where Fried demonstrates the week's new product that appeared in the shop, Time Travel, where the hosts look back on the world of makers, hackers, artists, and engineers and often highlight a special person or event, 3D Printing, where they showcase a special project or product related to the industry, a Q&A session and a trivia question, where the first viewer with the correct answer wins a product. There also sometimes is a section dedicated to Raspberry Pi and Arduino news and a section where the hosts read a positive email that they have received from a satisfied customer. Every week, a coupon code for a 10% rebate on everything in the store except gift certificates and software is issued and is valid only for the night. The show airs every Wednesday at 8 PM ET on the company's YouTube channel and is still run by Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone, albeit guests are often present. As of February 2016, there have been almost 200 editions of the show, totaling almost 7 million minutes watched, a half million video views and 33 thousand playlist views.
Show-and-Tell is Adafruit's live show where makers from all around the world come in and share the electronic projects that they are currently working on. The show is at 7:30 PM ET every Wednesday, runs for 30 minutes and is directly preceding Ask an Engineer. It is hosted by Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone and is using the Google+ Hangouts platform. Over the four years that it has been running for, Show-and-Tell has been produced more than 200 times, collecting more than 2.8 million minutes watched, about 500k video views and 27k playlist views.
Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern was Adafruit's live show dedicated to the wearable electronics industry. It was hosted by the American artist Becky Stern, who was accompanied by a co-host. It aired every Wednesday at 2 PM ET and was produced for 122 episodes, from 2013 to 2016. More than 2.6 million minutes were watched, with over 300k video views and 13.7k playlist plays. The last edition was streamed on February 10, 2016. In the show, industry news, projects, techniques and materials were covered and discussed. Also, viewers could ask the hosts their questions. The show typically ran for 30 minutes.
Just as the previous show was dedicated to the wearable electronics industry, 3D Hangouts with Noe and Pedro Ruiz goes over the 3D printing industry (most typically about desktop FDM printers). Every week, on Thursday, a 30-minute edition is released where the two brothers discuss news about the industry, specific projects that they are working on, share 3D printing tips and tricks and answer viewer's questions and comments. They also showcase projects and prints from the online community. A discount code for 10% off (only for the night) on everything in the Adafruit shop except for software and gift cards is given as well. The show was started in 2014 and has been running ever since. It has collected more than 1.6 million minutes watched, more than 250k video views and more than 12.7k playlist views over the course of a little bit more than 75 episodes.