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“Hardware needs software that makes it sing.”

From the editors of MAKE, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends. Please send items to us at [email protected].

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News


3D METAL PRINTING ON THE RISE

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348 metal 3D printing machines were sold in 2013, compared to 198 in 2012. That’s a growth of 75.8%.

Metal 3D printing is a complex, expensive industrial process. But it’s gaining traction in industrial manufacturing, according to the newest edition of the annual survey of 3D printing, the Wohlers Report.

Last year 348 metal 3D printing machines were sold, compared to 198 in 2012. Those aren’t big numbers, but the percentage growth is impressive. And successful industrial technologies have a tendency to trickle down.

Terry Wohlers (@TerryWohlers), founder and president of Wohlers Associates, says, “Companies such as Airbus, General Electric, and Lima Corporate are using these machines to produce complex metal parts for next-generation aerospace and medical products.”


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NEST RECALLS 440K SMOKE DETECTORS, TAKES “PROTECT” OFF THE MARKET

There’s a bug in the feature that allows users to “wave” the unit off, which could cause a delay in the alarm if there were a real fire, CEO Tony Fadell (@tfadellreportedin a letter to consumers. A software update will be forthcoming.

ELIHUU RENAMES ITSELF BRITEHUB, MOVES TO SAN FRANCISCO

The startup, which hopes to connect entrepreneurs with service providers and manufacturers, changed its name to Britehub, and moved to San Francisco.

HP TO FOCUS ON BUSINESS 3D PRINTING

HP CEO Meg Whitman (@MegWhitmantold CNBC that the company does not intend to enter the consumer 3D printer market. Instead it will target business users with a new 3D printer line later this year.

HARDWARE FACTORY COMING TO LAS VEGAS

Factorli has raised $10 million in funding, from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh(@tonyhsieh) and his Downtown Project’s VegasTechFund, and has identified a 25,000-foot space near downtown Las Vegas. The facility hopes to attract hardware startups interested in prototypes and small-run manufacturing.

CEO Jen McCabe (@jensmccabe) told TechCrunch that the hope is to have everything ready, with customers in the building, in time for the big CES trade show next year, which will be in January 2015.

HARDWARE BY THE NUMBERS

Venture capitalist Renee DiResta (@noUpside) surveys the hardware landscape in 52 data-driven slides: Hardware Trends by the Numbers.

Among the revelations: nearshoring is gaining in popularity in the U.S. as manufacturing wages in China continue to rise. In several industries it’s now cheaper to hire workers in Mexico.

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From Hardware Trends by the Numbers

3D PRINTERS GET CONNECTED

Networking and enhanced software must be the inevitable next step for 3D printers, because three new projects, all with funding, have recently launched in pursuit of the power that results when 3D printers are networked.

PrintToGraphic

The PrintToPeer Model

PrintToPeer, which is running a campaign on Indiegogo until June 9, has already more than doubled its goal of $15k. Over on Kickstarter, wireless 3D printing software project AstroPrint made its $10k goal in just a single day. It’s now moved past $25k.Printr, with funding from Microsoft, and availability on every major mobile platform, intends to make sure that “you are always connected to your 3D printer wherever you go.”

And don’t forget 3DHubs, which now has close to 5,000 3D printers on its network, across the U.S. and Europe.

THE MOD-T ESTABLISHES A NEW FLOOR FOR CONSUMER 3D PRINTERS

MOD-t

The MOD-t, from New Matter and Frog Design, now up on Indiegogo, is aiming to launch with a list price of $249.

Opinion and Speculation


THE “SMART HOME” IS THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR GOOGLE AND APPLE

DropCam-PRO_Front_72dpi

The “Smart Home” concept, which has struggled to overcome a mess of competing standards, and the lack of compelling reason to exist (connected fridges haven’t generated any excitement), got a double dose of media attention last week around a pair of rumors:

  1. Google is planning to buy the home surveillance camera Dropcam.
  2. Apple will announce a smart home initiative at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, coming up next week (June 2).

Analyst Michael Wolf wrote a forward-looking post on what an Apple Smart Home might look like. He expects a reliance on wi-fi and Bluetooth LE. Mashable also weighed in with a why this makes sense post.

The Google rumor was not as well-received, causing many to fret about the prospect of another surveillance tool (and potential advertising platform) added to Google’s growing collection (search, Gmail, Nest, Protect, etc.).

It didn’t help that Google recently admitted in an SEC filing that, in a few years, it “could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.”

AMAZON MAY SOON CHALLENGE SHAPEWAYS

The blog 3D Print has found a patent from Amazon, granted last year, that looks like the mega retailer has plans to offer a Shapeways-style 3D printed service and marketplace. Amazon currently has a 3D Printing Store, with 9 partners. It’s missing the crucial print-on-demand and customization features of Shapeways, but maybe … not for long!

amazon21 Maker Pro Newsletter   05/29/14

Amazon’s current 3D offering

HOW TO BUILD MAGICAL DEVICES

The VC firm First Round interviewed product designer Adam MacBeth (@adamac), who channeled his experience with Apple and Jawbone into pithy, quotable industrial design advice for hardware entrepreneurs.

If you just like to hack hardware projects together to see how they work, well, you need to spend some time with MacBeth, who comes at products from the design, and user experience, and software side of the house.

“To succeed,” he says, “hardware needs software that makes it sing.”

Tweets of the Week


Upcoming Maker Faires


Here’s what’s happening over the next few weeks:

What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.


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DC Denison

DC Denison

DC Denison is the editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

The former technology editor of The Boston Globe, DC is also interested in content management systems.


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