Excerpt from Haydn Shaughnessy on Forbes.com:
"When large companies get it, you can be sure the momentum has some pedigree. Large companies have been shocked by the rise of crowdfunding and the capacity of small companies and start-ups to fire up consumer passion on the back of an idea. Let’s not forget who really popularized wearable computing – PEBBLE with is uber-successful Kickstarter campaign for a smartwatch."
Shaughnessy continues "The infrastructure for hardware start-ups is meanwhile improving all the time. For the past few years we’ve been hearing about projects like Shapeways that help consumers to realize a product. The consumer designs and Shapeways produces using 3D printing. But the professional community is already a long way past that mark.
Take a look at GrabCAD, a community of over 700,000 engineers who are sharing open engineering designs and drawings so that new products can be designed and prototyped rapidly with open source design – reminds me of Motorola’s new initiative in smartphones.
The trend to open engineering has been accelerated by 3D printing, according to GrabCAD CEO Hardi Meybaum but another feature of GrabCAD is the use of crowdfunding sites to secure feedback from the community. Take a look too at Dragon Innovation, a crowdfunding site devoted to hardware project fulfillment. The crowd, open, social are recurring themes.
Autodesk SVP Amar Hanspal calls it a movement. Autodesk now runs consumer-centric communities totaling over 120 million people, many of them, like GrabCad’s members, are people with engineering backgrounds."