DEARBORN, MI -- May 4, 2012 : TechShop Detroit will give Ford employees, plus all MetroDetroiters, access to classes, coaching and state-of-the-art toolsto turn ideas into reality Ford's Employee Patent Incentive Award program now provides freeTechShop memberships to Ford employees submitting inventions Since the program was initiated at the beginning of the year,invention submissions are up more than 30 percent year-to-dateversus 2011 Henry Ford would have felt right at home in Michigan 's latest do-it-yourself workshop, the newly opened TechShopDetroit. After all, Mr. Ford underscores what a "maker" represents,having built his first motorized vehicle in his backyard shed. What is a maker? It's an individual within a growing movement of people interestedin turning their ideas into reality -- whether these are one-offart objects or potentially marketable products -- someone who mightnot have the tools or know-how to get it done. TechShop is located in Fairlane Business Park, a Ford Land-ownedproperty. |
Ford Land helped bring TechShop to Metro Detroit withassistance from Bill Coughlin , CEO of Ford Global Technologies. Leading the domestic autoindustry's only intellectual property team with a licensing arm,Coughlin shares this vision to help drive innovation among Fordengineers. "Innovation and invention are at the core of Ford Motor Company,"he says. "When I heard about TechShop and how they are inspiringand helping a new generation of inventors, I had to find a way tolure them to Detroit.
Not only is it a great opportunity for the community, but it willbe a strategic tool to spur creativity and new ideas within theFord engineering community to help us continue to build ourintellectual property portfolio." Ford Global Technologies is enhancing the Employee Patent IncentiveAward program so that inventors now get a free three-monthmembership to TechShop Detroit for submitting an invention worthyof patent consideration. Since launch in 1988, this program hasprovided financial rewards to Ford employees who submit approvedinventions. Coughlin estimates about 2,000 incentive memberships will beprovided to Ford employees this year. Since the program wasinitiated at the beginning of the year, invention submissions areup more than 30 percent versus last year. Ford has a portfolio of more than 17,000 issued and pending patentsaround the world, and -- as a technology company -- needs to be atthe very forefront of automotive innovation.
With TechShop in closeproximity, Ford's employees in Dearborn will be able to easily and quickly build prototypes for almost anyinventive solution they can conceive. "By collaborating with TechShop Inc. to bring this new facility tosoutheast Michigan , we hope both to inspire and enable some of the great minds thatlive in this region to create, experiment and invent," said Venkatesh Prasad , senior technical leader, Ford Research and Innovation. "AtTechShop, the many creative people including talented engineers,designers and scientists who work in the auto industry can exercisetheir imaginations and innovate well beyond their usual jobdescription." Dozens of Ford employees have already received TechShop awards fora variety of ideas that may be incorporated into future Fordvehicles, or licensed to other companies. Learn about how Ford innovators are using their memberships byfollowing this link: Ford Media.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with Ford -- a company that trulyembraces the open innovation model -- to drive innovation in theGreater Metro Detroit area," said Jim Newton , TechShop founder. "TechShop provides a great resource to Fordemployees and the many other local entrepreneurs looking toincubate new technologies, as part of Detroit 's growing innovation community." From laser cutters to computer-aided-design workstations to 3Dprinters, every TechShop is outfitted with tools that Henry Ford couldn't even imagine when he built his first cars more than acentury ago. While much of this equipment is still well beyond themeans of most tinkerers, memberships that start at just $99 a month enable everyone to be creative. All Ford employees andretirees will qualify for a 50 percent discount on TechShopmemberships.
TechShop was launched in 2006 in Menlo Park, Calif. , near the heart of Silicon Valley where much of the technologythat makes modern life possible was born. While Ford is in themidst of opening its own Silicon Valley Lab, it's fitting thenewest workshop opens in America's industrial heartland, adjacentto Ford's product development campus. Along with access to tools, members can take beginner toadvanced-level classes with TechShop Dream Consultants on how touse the tools, and bounce ideas off other members. The Allen Park facility includes 17,000 square feet of shop space, classrooms, acreative brainstorming lounge and a retail store offeringconvenience materials and consumables.
Every TechShop membership includes: Use of all tools and equipment (safety and basic usage classrequired for some) Spacious workshop with large worktables with 115-volt outlets andcompressed air Use of computer workstations with software including AutodeskInventor suite Wi-Fi.
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