Kickstarter announces Hardware Studio service

May 19, 2017 // 10:15 a.m.

Tags: #avnet #crowdfunding #david-gallagher #design #dragon-innovation #electronics #hardware-studio #indiegogo #kickstarter

Crowdfunding site Kickstarter has announced the launch of an initiative designed to reduce the number of technology projects which raise funds then fail to deliver: Hardware Studio.

Created by Kickstarter in partnership with electronics industry veterans Avnet and Dragon Innovation, the Kickstarter Hardware Studio is split into two distinct services: A Toolkit site provides tutorials, tips, and other handy resources for those working on hardware design and production, while a Connection site allows creators to ask for advice and assistance from Avnet and Dragon engineers directly. The former is to be open for all Kickstarter participants, the company has explained, while the latter will be open to applicants creating 'more advanced projects' who will then be selected for participation based on criteria not yet detailed.

'Let's face it: Some Kickstarter projects are trickier to execute than others. If you want to bring a new piece of technology into the world, for example, you need to think about selecting components, pricing them, connecting with the right factory, and so on,' explained Kickstarter's David Gallagher of the launch in an introductory blog post. 'All of that is easier to figure out than it was just a few years ago, thanks in part to the paths blazed by Kickstarter-funded hardware creators. But we think it could be a lot easier.'

The launch comes on the back of a range of high-profile crowdfunding failures, both on Kickstarter itself and rival services including Indiegogo. The Coolest Cooler project, for example, raised over $13 million in funding three years ago with backers still awaiting their rewards despite the company having begun selling the product into retail channels. The Ziphius aquatic drone, powered by a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, failed to get even that far into the process: Having raised $127,199 from 472 backers, Azorean discovered it had underestimated the complexity of its design and ran out of money prior to production. As of November last year the company was still seeking further investment in an effort to deliver on its promises, now more than three years overdue. An effort to create a hand-held ZX Spectrum emulator on Indiegogo appears to be going through similar difficulties, having had to abandon its original design late into the process and shooting past its planned launch date with no evidence of production having begun coupling with financial and legal troubles at the company to have backers clamouring for refunds.

The Kickstarter Hardware Studio is detailed on the official website and is scheduled to go live in September this year.

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