Johnson, a nuclear engineer, Tuskegee University Ph.D. and former NASA scientist, founded his company in 1989. It was the same year he first licensed the Super Soaker, which generated more than $200 million in retail sales two years later, the company said. The toy was licensed to Larami Corp., which was later purchased by Hasbro.
Johnson holds more than 80 patents, with more than 20 pending, the company said, which said sales of the Super Soaker have approached nearly $1 billion.
As an Alabama high school senior, Johnson finished building a remote-controlled robot with a reel-to-reel tape player for a brain and jukebox solenoids controlling its pneumatic limbs, according to a 2008 profile in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
After graduating from Tuskegee he joined the Air Force, worked at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Sandia, worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab on the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Mars Observer project, among others. He also helped design the Cassini robot probe that flew 740 million miles to Saturn.
While this news has been popping up in a number of locations, we found this take on the issue pretty amusing, and seems likely to generate a very interesting dataset. Which kids are thrilled with the toy they get in their Happy Meal that they don’t want to line up to see what the restaurant’s in-house 3D printer will make for them?
Fabes says using 3D printers on-site would allow staff to print the toy of the child’s choice, should the kid not like the toy McDonalds is offering at the time.
“Countless families have had their enjoyment of a nutritious McD’s ruined because they turned up the week that the starring character in that season’s kiddie-sized blockbuster had been replaced by an earnest but boring supporting character as the toy of choice,” the UK’s Register reports.
Having the ability to create toys on demand could potentially become an even bigger draw for families to visit the establishment. But the somewhat egregious idea is just that; an idea….
Based on your feedback, we’re happy to announce that starting in 2014, MAKE will be published SIX times a year. Readers will get two more issues at the same great value. In addition, MAKE will be published in a new LARGER format, allowing us to cover more projects in an even more visually compelling way. Thank you for supporting MAKE and being a part of the maker community. We are looking forward to a bigger and better 2014!
Going from 4 times per year to 6 times per year (keeping the same price) – and they’re going to a larger print format.
We are pleased to announce a new series of LIVE Google+ Hangouts on Air! HARDWARE HANGOUT with ADAFRUIT 11/12 at 7pm ET – our first special guest is Marc Barros! These chats are with entrepreneur, hardware engineer and founder Ladyada from Adafruit along with members of her team and a guest talking about Maker Businesses, specifically hardware businesses! Tune in, ask questions and learn from experts in the hardware industry.
Marc has a hardware workshop coming up – Hardware Workshop – Helping hardware founders build better companies – November 22nd-23rd – Astro Studios, San Francisco. The workshop is a two day event for founders of hardware startups to help you learn how to get from an idea to market fit. The curriculum is broken up into a series of 60 minute sessions, taught by experienced hardware startup operators. This workshop goes beyond “how to crowdfund an MVP” to provide lessons applicable in building a successful hardware startup. We hope you leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of what it takes to turn your idea into a successful company.
As the trends towards more powerful devices at lower price points continue, and technology makes its way into locks, light bulbs, smoke detectors and everything else in our lives (because hey, it makes make life better and doesn’t add much cost) we’ll start to see more and more hardware products that are basically given away — because the real money is in the software services.
The article also mentioned “Malware of things” – irons and electric kettles were discovered in Russia that contained Wifi chips and microprocessors designed to find unprotected Wifi networks, presumably for the purposes of sending spam.
I’m excited to announce our first Hardware Workshop in San Francisco on November 22nd and 23rd.
The workshop is a two day event for founders of hardware startups to help you learn how to get from an idea to market fit. The curriculum is broken up into a series of 60 minute sessions, taught by experienced hardware startup operators. This workshop goes beyond “how to crowdfund an MVP” to provide lessons applicable in building a successful hardware startup. We hope you leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of what it takes to turn your idea into a successful company.
Few hardware companies would dream of giving up their design secrets, but for a growing niche of entrepreneurs, doing just that is a pillar of their business.
The open-source hardware movement is migrating from the garage to the marketplace. Companies that follow an open-source philosophy make their physical designs and software code available to the public. By doing so, these companies engage a wave of makers, hobbyists and designers who don’t just want to buy products, but have a hand in developing them.
The Maker Movement is now a global reality, and its acolytes believe that within a few years, anybody who wants one will have their own 3D printer at home, after all: back in the 1980s, who would have thought that every household would have a computer?
On the Oct. 27, 2013 edition of Work with Marty Nemko, I talk with David Lang, author of Zero to Maker, on the Maker Movement: How likely a path to sustainable employment.
In the second half of the show you can call in for a 3-Minute Workover. I’ll try to help you solve the career conundrum you or someone you love is facing.
Work with Marty Nemko is heard every Sunday from 11 AM to noon on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco and worldwide on kalw.org. The podcast is available for a week on the NPR site and in perpetuity on this page.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Formlabs closed a $19 million round of financing. We’ve found a great group of partners who will help us carry forward in making our vision for Formlabs a reality.
We’ve come a long way in the last two years, building a 30-person international team, launching (and very soon, completing) our Kickstarter campaign, and bringing an incredible tool to the desktops of designers, engineers, and artists around the world.
HP CEO Meg Whitman has told the Canalys Channels Forum in Bangkok that the company will enter the 3D printer market in the middle of 2014.
“We are excited about 3D printing,” Whitman said, adding that it is a natural business for HP to enter given its heritage in printers. “We want to lead this businesses. HP labs is looking at it.”
The things HP’s boffins are considering is the time it takes to print an object. “To print a bottle can take eight to ten hours. That’s all very interesting, but it is like watching ice melt,” she said. Lower cost is also on the agenda.
“3D printing is in its infancy” she said. “It is a big opportunity and we are all over it. We will have something by the middle of next year.” …
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
Hardware is a cash flow business. It takes money to get to market, and even more money to scale your company. This means that your funding strategy is second in priority only to creating an amazing product.
I got the funding strategy wrong at Contour.
Despite being a $30 million business with award-winning growth (#7 on the Inc500, we couldn’t properly fund the business. Being number two in a fast-growing category wasn’t enough as every investor wanted to lead the market, not follow it. In the end Contour ran out of money, which is still mind blowing when you consider that the company had hundreds of thousands of customers.
Contour losing the category wasn’t a result of the decisions made at the end. In reality Contour lost almost two years before when our competitor raised $80M to our $5M. It was at that point that we should have stepped back and re-thought our strategy, but instead we plowed forward and assumed number two could get just as much funding. We couldn’t.
A lack of proper funding prevented us from fulfilling customer demand, growing brand awareness, and staying in front of the innovation curve. Our lead in product quickly deteriorated as a lack of cash prevented us from moving the business forward.
Faster prototyping & cheaper manufacturing have allowed hardware experts to gain a hold in a market traditionally dominated by multi-national corporations. Last fall, we raised $500k in convertible notes to build a marketplace for these independent hardware companies.
Tindie now has over 4,000 customers, 1,200 products, and 300 businesses. Products include Arduino & Raspberry Pi shields, sensors, robots, 3D printers, drones and more. Our customers include Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities and hobbyists.
Because of our growth, our sellers are continually running out of inventory (especially after months like August), and waiting on the completion of their next product run. We’re currently sold out of over 160 products. We are raising $1m to build the infrastructure to connect manufacturers & fulfillment businesses with our sellers. This will allow us to meet market demand while also freeing our sellers to design new products.