Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Jeev Trika, Liz McMillan, Scott Allen, Pat Romanski

News Feed Item

The Business of Making Things: FirstBuild™ Microfactory Opens in Louisville, Ky.

(NYSE:GE) — From the color of appliances to personalized features, consumers want the ability to customize the everyday products they use to suit their individual lifestyle needs. Through the FirstBuild™ Microfactory*, which officially opened today in Louisville, Ky., the online and local community members can design products and help solve engineering challenges that will fast-track community-driven innovation to market.

The FirstBuild lab features an electronics prototyping center, laser cutter, hardware components and ...

The FirstBuild lab features an electronics prototyping center, laser cutter, hardware components and the latest tools and technology. (Photo: GE)

Until now, customization and speed to market presented challenges for mass appliance manufacturers like GE Appliances, the parent company of FirstBuild. Today’s opening of the FirstBuild Microfactory will not only enable customization through small-batch production, but will help get these products to market faster than ever before without the cost and risk of traditional mass manufacturing.

“Partnering with a global co-creation community and using micromanufacturing to develop new products are unprecedented in the appliance industry. There certainly isn’t a ‘how-to’ guide for us to follow,” said Kevin Nolan, GE Appliances’ Vice President of Technology. “Shifting to a market and community-driven innovation strategy will help determine which products we reserve for customization and which are appropriate to transfer to our larger-scale production facilities.”

At the FirstBuild Microfactory grand opening event in Louisville on July 24, community-driven innovation became a reality and new products were unveiled that will soon go into production and will be sold on FirstBuild.com. In the coming months, consumers can buy the following products that were either developed by the FirstBuild online community and/or made by hand in the FirstBuild Microfactory.

  • Smart Pitcher: FirstBuild’s refrigerator will store a water dispenser inside the fresh food compartment. When the pitcher sits underneath the level-sensing dispenser—voila!—cold, fresh water fills the pitcher and stops automatically. FirstBuild’s first version of the product will include the smart-fill feature, with a planned upgrade to include water filtration this fall.
  • Space-Saving, No-Stall Disposer: This low-profile disposer design creates 4 inches of additional space under the sink, helps eliminate the accidental grinding of foreign objects and uses a brushless motor and smart sensors to sense a potential motor stall. The disposer is designed for easy consumer installation—it snaps in and twists into place.
  • Easy-Slide Oven Door: A dual oven with an ergonomically designed door makes it easy to retrieve dishes without reaching into the oven’s cavity. The top oven features a door that pulls out just like any other drawer in your kitchen. The easy-slide oven door also includes a “peek” feature, allowing cooks to visually monitor progress without disrupting the cooking process.
  • LineCook: LineCook is inspired by the desire to eliminate the variability that produces over- and under-cooked food. The idea gained traction through a project introduced by a member of Louisville’s most popular hackerspace, LVL1. “LineCook,” an oven that scans the barcode of prepared foods and automatically sets the cooking method, time and temperature, has become FirstBuild’s first community-led project, with commercial availability pending.

The opening of the FirstBuild Microfactory follows a recent announcement that GE partnered with Local Motors, the open-source hardware innovator, to launch a new model for the manufacturing industry, which pairs co-creation and micromanufacturing with a focus on speeding the time from mind to market. The partnership leverages advanced manufacturing processes and an open innovation approach to engineering—delivering benefits for consumers and enterprise alike.

Most recently, MakerBot and TechShop have partnered with FirstBuild. These alliances, and others to come, will forever change the way companies design, make and sell products. To learn more about how these companies plan to work together visit: http://pressroom.geappliances.com/news/makerbot-and-techshop-join-ges-collaborative-innovation-strategy.

FirstBuild.com community members will submit ideas, vote on which concepts become challenges or projects, and determine which products move on to production. Prizes and sales royalties will be awarded to community members who make significant contributions. To learn more, sign up at FirstBuild.com.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or check out our website for more information
Friend GE Appliances on Facebook to view how-to videos, learn about new GE appliances and join in the discussion with other GE appliance owners. Join today and follow @GE_Appliances on Twitter or just locate detailed information about our products at www.geappliances.com.

About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.

About GE Appliances
GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. GE Appliances’ products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit www.ge.com/appliances.

*Microfactory, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of GE, and FirstBuild is a registered trademark of Microfactory, Inc.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...