Ford, TechShop Aim to Turn Everyday Joes Into Rich and Famous Inventors
July 31, 2011 2:11 PM
The latest TechShop, located in Allen Park, Michigan will give hopeful inventors access to unparalleled resources (right to left -- Ford's Christopher Danowski, TechShop's Jim Newton and AutoHarvest's Jayson Pankin).
(Source: Ward's Auto)
The new innovation center will give anyone from the laid off auto worker (pictured) to the new college grad the ability to create their own startup.
New Detroit area workshop offers novice makers a chance to affordably experiment, learn, and dream
had the privilege of attending a special event on Thursday put on jointly by Ford Motor Company (
, which pulled the curtains off a special new home for invention and innovation.
I. Choose Your Own Invention
TechShop is an unusual national incubator project, which looks to help "everyday inventors, from backyard tinkerers to tech-savvy engineers, can come and create their very-own homegrown innovations."
At the presentation, TechShop's founder Jim Newton said the goal was to eventually put a tech shop in every large community across the U.S.
The new Detroit facility is located in Allen Park, roughly 15 minutes east of the city of Detroit. It joins centers Menlo Park, San Jose, and San Francisco, California and another facility in Raleigh, North Carolina. Locations in Portland, Oregon; Brooklyn, New York; and Los Angeles, California, are also planned after the Michigan center is completed.
The new workshop in Detroit (Allen Park) will officially open in November of this year. People can enroll for a low $100/month fee -- about the "cost of a gym membership" -- as Mr. Newton put it. That fee gives members access to the shop's technical experts and over $1M USD in high tech tools, such as laser and high-pressure water cutting systems, CNC mills, and
. Members sign up for special training classes, which teach safety and the basics of operation of the advanced tools.
Current TechShops draw a diverse crowd -- from installation artists looking for a place to cut and form materials to do-it-yourself clothing artists to more traditional mechanical device inventors.
Some success stories include Andy Filo who built his own
; Lightning Motorcycles founder Ken Newton, builder of
the world's fastest electric motorcycle
; Michael Pinneo, who made a desktop diamond-making machine; Sam Waldbaum who devloped lunar regolith extraction (aka moondust mining devices) devices; Karen Synders who launched a business selling laser-cut bamboo sewing guides; Patrick Buckley who made the iPad DoDo case, which today sells $3M USD in product and counts U.S. President Barack Obama as one of its customers; glass-blower turned smart phone gadget-maker James McKelvey who launched the
Square NFC credit-card billing add-on
for current generation smart phones; and Phil Hughes, whose server cooling research helped to spawn what's expect to become a $1B USD business.
Ford and TechShop hope to add to that growing list at the new location.
II. New Location has Auto Theme
As Detroit is the "Motor City" the pair are teaming up with
, a local organization that promotes new inventors in the automotive field.
spoke with AutoHarvest President and CEO Jayson Pinkin, who said that Ford and the many other corporate co-sponsors were essential to the project, given the reduced state funding for tech incubator projects in Michigan.
He emphasized that TechShop not only helps inventors, invent, but also puts them in touch with the people they need to network with to protect their intellectual property and sell it. He told us that they were anticipating renting office space at the facility for anywhere from $50,000 USD/month for large businesses, to the "price of a plane ticket" per month for smaller ones. This "sliding scale" model, is designed to maintain profitability for the center, while lowering costs barriers for market entry.
Given the large number of laid off skilled workers in the Detroit are who have been dropped from automotive manufacturing jobs, this center could be their ticket to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Likewise, it should be a hit with graduate college students. In fact, sponsoring partners including Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Ohio State University.
Attending the TechShop event, we got the impression that there's still a lot of work to doin order to get the center off the ground and thriving. We also came away very impressed, though, at the low price and broad resources available for new tinkerers. This was our first real in-depth experience with the nation-wide movement, so we're looking forward to seeing what new inventions come out of the Allen Park center.
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Square Mobile Payments Startup Receives Large Investment from Visa
April 28, 2011, 10:57 AM
KillaCycle & Lightning Motors Compete for Fastest Electric Motorcycle Record
October 22, 2009, 12:06 PM
Building An "Iron Man" Pt. II: Jet-powered, Winged Flight
May 18, 2008, 2:04 PM
3D Printers to Dip Below $5,000 USD This Year
May 8, 2007, 2:12 PM
Jaguar I-PACE – Jaguar’s New Electric Concept / New SUV
November 16, 2016, 5:00 AM
Car Insurance - The Hidden Discriminatory Practise
October 18, 2016, 5:00 AM
End of the Road for the Audi R8 e-tron
October 15, 2016, 5:00 AM
Paralyzed Race Car Driver Recieves Nevada License
October 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
Take a Glance at the Cars of the Paris 2016 Motor Show
October 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
What Can You Do with Your New Echo Dot?
December 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Google has developed Deep Learning Algorithm to detect Diabetic Eye Disease
December 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Latest News, this is how the Moto X (2017) might look
December 3, 2016, 9:02 AM
Foscam R2 Home Security Camera System – High Quality High FHD Security Video Footage with No Monthly Fees
December 1, 2016, 2:00 AM
Sound Blaster Z SBX PCIE Gaming Sound Card - Superb High Performance Sound Card
December 6, 2016, 1:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Dec 9, 2016, 5:00 AM
Latest Tech News
Dec 8, 2016, 5:11 AM
In The News
Dec 7, 2016, 5:00 AM
e Guide: Mobile Security for 2017
Dec 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Apple Car is Not Dead
Dec 5, 2016, 1:00 AM
Dec 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 2, 2016, 5:00 AM
Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Dec 1, 2016, 3:01 AM
Chapeconense plane crash: Football rallies around Brazilian Team
Nov 30, 2016, 1:00 AM
How to Extends Your iPhone’s Battery Life
Nov 29, 2016, 12:49 AM
Nov 28, 2016, 1:12 AM
News: Fidel Castro
Nov 27, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nov 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
Changes in Social status affect the way genes turn on and off within immune cells.
Nov 25, 2016, 5:12 AM
Austrian far–right hopeful Hofer may back EU vote.
Nov 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Final Fantasy XV Leaked Before Nov 29 Launch Date
Nov 23, 2016, 1:00 AM
Nov 22, 2016, 2:26 AM
Nov 21, 2016, 1:00 AM
HTC Makes Big Moves in China
Nov 20, 2016, 2:00 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information