The partnership between GE and Quirky goes back to GE Garages, a high-concept, hands-on manufacturing lab loaded with 3D printers like the MakerBot, laser cutters, injection molders, computer numeric control mills and other high-tech tools. The Garages let kids and adults learn how modern prototyping and manufacturing works, and participate in a medley of hands-on workshops, specialized training and education.
GE teamed up with the invention lab Quirky and “crowdsourced” ideas for a basic appliance that can be made smarter with software. “We’ve embraced the digital side of things and it’s highly stimulating, but not tactile,” said GE Executive Director Linda Boff. “At a very simple level, there is a desire to make things, to hold things in your hand, and [this partnership] is a come-one-come-all invitation to invention.” The winner was the modest milk jug. The team spent the month of May in the lab, designing, shaping and molding the vessel.