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MakerBot, TechShop Join GE's Collaborative Innovation Strategy

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 12:49pm
Microfactory, Inc.
  • MakerBot will partner with FirstBuild on open innovation challenges, using 3D printing to design parts that will enhance the convenience and functionality of major appliances 
  • TechShop and FirstBuild will partner to challenge TechShop community members to co-create on the FirstBuild website; winning products will receive a lump-sum award for their TechShop location

Washington D.C.—As part of a continuing effort to partner with other forward-leaning manufacturing companies and communities, GE (NYSE:GE) today announced two new partnerships with MakerBot and TechShop that will harness the global brain of the maker community to bring innovative, new products to market faster.

GE's new micro kitchen is one of the projects MakerBot and TechShop will help FirstBuild design and engineer."GE continues to foster collaborative relationships to drive innovation through cutting-edge manufacturing models and partnerships that are redefining how ground-breaking products are made,” said Kevin Nolan, vice president of technology for GE Appliances.

Building on the partnership with Local Motors announced earlier this year, the new partnerships with MakerBot and TechShop will enhance GE’s collaboration with engineers and makers, providing additional opportunities to engage this community as they develop the next generation of major home appliances through FirstBuild, an online co-creation and micromanufacturing community. 

In addition to this summer's upcoming co-creation challenges, FirstBuild has two co-creation challenges currently in progress. 

  • Micro kitchen: To help solve a growing problem in major metropolitan areas where rapid urbanization is driving the size of homes and kitchens down, FirstBuild is challenging its global community to design and engineer a micro kitchen that maintains the style and functionality of a traditional kitchen with a significantly smaller footprint
  • Indoor grilling: FirstBuild is asking makers, designers and aspiring chefs to take the weather out of the equation and engineer the ultimate indoor grill

Once the winning designs have been selected by the FirstBuild community, the global community will harness its collective brain power to determine the engineering specifications. A limited quantity of the products will be made by the FirstBuild microfactory1 in Louisville, Kentucky, and the most popular products can potentially scale up to mass production, affecting millions of homes and leading to royalties for the FirstBuild community members who have made the most significant contributions.

The products will be sold on site at the FirstBuild store or can be ordered online at FirstBuild.com. Retail pricing will be announced when the products become available later this year.

To learn more about all the challenges, visit www.firstbuild.com.

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