Quirky and GE have had a very close relationship for a little while now. The first partnership between the pair emerged around 18 months ago when GE opened up a number of patents to the Quirky community for their pool of innovators and inventors to go to work on.
This partnership grew further as they became a part of the GE Garages project that I wrote about recently, alongside TechShop and SkillShare.
As with most innovations, whilst having creative approaches is fascinating, the proof has to be in the output. The TechShop concept is well developed in that sense, with an estimated $10 billion in new products emerging from them over the years.
A recent announcement by GE highlights the value they’re getting from the partnership with Quirky too. They revealed a number of new products that emerged from the IP that was released onto the Quirky community.
These new products are:
- Tripper – a sensor that can detect whether a window is open or closed.
- Norm – a device that regulates humidity and temperature using an array of sensors located throughout a home. The device can be managed via a smartphone app.
- Overflow – a water sensor that can detect leaks and alert them of the fact via their smartphone.
- Ascend – a garage door controller.
- Tapt – a mobile powered light switch that lets you manage your lights from your phone.
- Outlink – an energy tracking device that can be placed on your wall.
- Spotter – this is an update of a previous device to make the home sensor device even more functional and robust.
As you can see, there is a distinct smart home feel about the products, and all of the aforementioned devices can be managed by the Wink.com smartphone app.
“Wink’s growth to date can be attributed to the success we’ve had in partnering with industry leading brands in the connected home category and our strong partnership with The Home Depot,” said Brett Worthington, VP and General Manager of Wink. “We’re excited to augment our amazing success at brick-and-mortar retail with a comprehensive digital platform where consumers can learn how to live in a smart home.”
The focus on smart home technology was emphasized by the announcement that Quirky is opening a new microfactory in San Francisco that will be the hub for developing the first built-to-order electronics for the smart home.
The new facility takes a leaf out of the TechShop handbook and comes equipped with facilities such as plastic injection molding lines, automated circuit board assembly machines and 3D printers.
“Understanding your environment and triggering events with the help of sensors is the first building block of a smart home,” said Steve Heintz, CTO of Quirky. “Soon, consumers will be able to configure Spotter with the sensors they need in colors that match their decor. Within a few days, they’ll receive a custom product off the line built specifically for them.”