Manufacturing Startup Culture

The Maker Movement: A Bottom-up Industrial Revolution?

According to Chris Anderson of the Guardian, we are entering a Third Industrial Revolution: the age of Makers. Characterized by bottom-up innovation, the Maker movement harnesses the Internet, crowdsourcing, and new manufacturing technologies to make things for the many, by the many.   More

Manufacturing

Custom Fixtures, Made in America and Shipped to China

One Brooklyn company has flipped the manufacturing model on its head. Whereas most goods are made in China and shipped to the U.S., Watermark Design is making plumbing parts here and shipping them to China. Jack Abel, the engineer who built the factory, has figured out how to make high-end custom-made fixtures at low cost, and has sold thousands of them to luxury hotels and condominiums in Asia, the New York Times reports.   More

Business Manufacturing

3D Printers Get Cheap, and the Transformation of Manufacturing Gets Closer

MakerBot of Brooklyn released new 3D printers, and it's a breakthrough. One costs only $2,199, but has extraordinary capabilities. MakerBot also announced it is opening a store in Soho. At Techonomy we believe 3D printing is one of those unexpected results of the digital revolution likely to upend industries and recast competition. Those who get it will win, and those who oppose it will lose. Even as 3D printing enters more and more material areas, so it will be used for larger products. We've heard of plans to build airplane wings, even entire buildings, with future (near future) versions of this technology. Wired's new issue puts MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis on the cover with the headline "This Machine will Change the World."   More

Learning Manufacturing

From Dinosaur Bones to Cookies, 3D Printing Expands in Colleges

Colleges are finding more uses for 3D printing, from art students creating sculptures of futuristic animals, to engineering students developing zero gravity fuel storage, to biology professors replicating dinosaur bones. All disciplines have the potential to benefit from 3D printing, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, especially as the technology becomes more sophisticated and less expensive. Many professors are supporters of controversial open-source 3D printers, an affordable do-it-yourself approach where printers are designed from online instructions based on expired patents. Despite impending patent disputes, proponents see open-source 3D printers as a way to bring the technology to the masses, offer more experimentation in the classroom, and attract younger students to STEM fields. One university class even printed 8,000 edible cookies for visiting high-school students—a huge hit for the potential engineers of the future.   More

Energy & Green Tech Manufacturing

Techonomy Detroit in the News: Was Tim Draper Wrong About Detroit’s Electric Car Future?

At Techonomy Detroit last week, venture capitalist Tim Draper had some harsh words for the local crowd. Detroit automakers have lost the electric-car battle to Tesla Motors, he said, and the only hope for the Big Three is to make something as innovative as a flying car. But Todd Woody at Forbes says Draper was wrong: “The electric car battle has only begun and if the objective is to win the war against fossil fuels then Tesla needs Detroit, Tokyo and Munich to join forces and sell as many cars as possible."   More

Manufacturing

How the U.S. Can Reinvent Manufacturing

‘Manufacturing 2.0’ is a radical shift already underway, and many key elements are taking shape. As technologies and business models evolve, we have an opportunity in the US to create and own the future of manufacturing. That means the opportunity for a resurgence of US manufacturing, creating big changes in the economy and revitalizing US cities across the country.   More

Finance Manufacturing

With $68 Million from Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins, Quirky Aims to Disrupt Consumer Products

Quirky has come a long way. Its roots lie in the distracted musings of inattentive high school student Ben Kaufman. Think of him now, instead, as wunderkind inventor. The New York-based social product design company, founded by Kaufman in 2009, last Wednesday raised a stunning $68 million in a venture round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins.   More

Business Manufacturing

Don’t Call It Crowdsourcing: Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman Brings Invention to the Masses

As he prepared for the 2007 Macworld Expo, 19-year-old inventor Ben Kaufman wondered how he could ever top the buzz his company, Mophie, had generated at the 2006 event. Instead of shooting for another iLounge Best of Show award with a clever new iPod case, he decided to invent a product on the spot—and enlisted total strangers to help him do it. Now 25, Kaufman is CEO of the consumer product company Quirky, which is transforming manufacturing by letting consumers decide what gets produced.   More

Business Manufacturing

The Next Wave of E-Commerce Innovation

In the United States, online retail is experiencing double-digit growth. By 2015 it is projected to be a nearly $300 billion market. So what will drive future growth? The current evidence from leaders like Etsy and Fab.com suggest that e-commerce will grow via optimization: flash sales, subscriptions, social recommendations, crowdsourcing, advertorials, better targeting of customers, etc. Brick and mortar retail is also going through a slow reawakening with the advent of in-store mobile commerce. At a minimum, we can expect smarter experiences that tap into the latest and greatest from behavioral economics, big data, and improved technology (i.e., faster mobile, widespread broadband access, and ubiquitous displays).   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Events

Digitized Decision Making and the Hidden Second Economy

There’s something big happening right now. I’m not referring to any of the popular technology memes per se—big data, social, cloud, mobile, augmented reality, context, post-PC devices, consumerization, 3D printing, etc. I’m referring to something behind, and beyond, all of these technologies: the digitization of decision making.   More