DIY hardware accelerators go global

Low-cost prototyping equipment, such as 3D printers (MakerBot, RepRap) and Atmel-powered Arduino boards, have made it easier for engineers and Makers around the world to design and test their creations. As Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times notes, the global DIY Maker Movement has been likened by many to the Homebrew Computer Club back in the 1970s, with hardware accelerators going global.

Indeed, HAXLR8R describes itself as a “new kind” of accelerator program for people who hack hardware and make things. The program runs for 111 days in Shenzhen, China and San Francisco. According to Bradshaw,  recent HAXLR8R demos were remarkably polished, especially since many of the projects showcased at various events barely existed just three months before.

“Several will ultimately fail, several will succeed, some will change the face of humanity,” Sean O’Sullivan, managing director of SOSventures and co-founder of Haxlr8r told the Financial Times. “[And this] is despite their tiny budgets, small salaries and fighting against all odds.”

Meanwhile Sarah Rotman Epps, emerging-technology analyst at Forrester Research, told Bradshaw there is a real need for the current crop of hardware accelerators.

“Even five years ago you couldn’t accomplish what you can today with the cloud and mobile infrastructure that’s in place,” she explained. “Their skillset is really in software or user experience. [However], hardware has become so commodified that anyone can do it. There are known solutions to common problems that accelerators can share with startups.”

The full text of “Help for the Makers to make it” can be read here.

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