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Great article @ Tech Review featuring MAKE advisory board member (and kit maker) Ladyada!

…Fried remains committed to the idea of sharing her designs–and her engineering expertise. She runs her own company, Adafruit Industries of New York City, through which she sells kits that allow people to undertake less subversive projects, such as making an iPod battery-pack charger and transforming a bike wheel into a customized LED display. All her kits are based on designs that can be modified or improved by her customers…

“I’m helping people learn electronics,” Fried says, “and also ensuring that the information will always be available.” And when users adapt and enhance her designs, she says, it helps make her products better.

My favorite part…

Von Hippel predicts a gradual shift in many industries. Eventually, he says, companies that make such things as high-tech devices and mountain bikes will no longer design their products; instead, the people who use the products will design their own. For example, companies that currently design machines for Boeing might still provide the materials and manufacture the machines, but engineers at Boeing will design the machines themselves, since they best understand how they’ll need to use them. “I see open-source solutions increasing their hold in many more fields and being empowering for us all,” Von Hippel says. As people who use the products, “we’ll get more of what we want and be able to participate in design much more. Manufacturers will go to becoming foundries that produce what users design.”