GE's FirstBuild Partners with Upverter for Circuit Board Design Challenge

Goal to Expand Toolbox of Hardware for Developing New Home Appliance Concepts
Visionaries like FirstBuild are gaining an early advantage in the Internet of Things by drawing on communities brimming with innovation like Upverter.

Adam Gravitis

VP Engineering, Upverter

LOUISVILLE, KY - January 20, 2015 - FirstBuild™, GE Appliances’ global co-creation community, has partnered with Upverter, a Toronto based startup company, to announce the Circuit Board Design Challenge to drive the future of home appliances. The challenge is targeted toward hardware engineers and hobbyists who have a vision for how appliance of the future should interact with the Internet of Things (IoT) community. Participants will use the web-based Upverter circuit design platform to collaborate and submit entries.

"Visionaries like FirstBuild are gaining an early advantage in the Internet of Things by drawing on communities brimming with innovation like Upverter," said Adam Gravitis, Upverter's Vice-President of Engineering. "A huge idea pool is the only way to keep pace in this market."

FirstBuild’s community has generated hundreds of great ideas waiting to be prototyped. In order to quickly build and evaluate these ideas, a variety of hardware devices from the maker community are often utilized. The available sensors, microcontrollers, single board computers and expansion boards go a long way towards building fast prototypes, but custom circuit boards are still created often so prototypes can interface with existing or new home appliances.

We are betting that an open invention approach will attract the bright ideas that will define the future of their appliances.

Venkat Venkatakrishnan

Director of FirstBuild

The partnership shares a vision for a more complete plug and play hardware platform targeted for home appliances so the maker community can evaluate ideas even faster. The Green Bean, which provides a USB bridge to many existing GE Appliances was launched by FirstBuild in September 2014, is a start, but this collaboration hopes to expand the toolbox of hardware for developing new home appliance concepts even more. The Circuit Board Design Challenge is that next step.

"We are betting that an open invention approach will attract the bright ideas that will define the future of their appliances. We are focused on speed to prototype and speed to market," said Venkat Venkatakrishnan, Director of FirstBuild.

The challenge is accepting entries until January 31, 2015. For more information, check out Firstbuild.com.

About Upverter

Founded in 2011, Upverter is an online circuit design platform that hardware engineers use to design next-generation electronics on any operating system, from anywhere. Upverter has been used for over 30,000 designs and boasts the largest parts library in the world with over 1.4 million electronic components.

About FirstBuild

FirstBuild, a partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors, is a global co-creation community that harnesses the brainpower of the maker movement to change the way major home appliances are conceived, designed and manufactured. A physical state-of-the-art microfactory on the University of Louisville campus and an online forum, FirstBuild speeds products from mind to market and enables customization through small batch production, without the costs and risks of traditional mass manufacturing. For more information on how to get involved, visit FirstBuild.

Press Inquiries: Adam Gravitis (adam.gravitis@upverter.com) and Kim Freeman (kim@firstbuild.com)