New: Watch for the Hardware Studio Badge on Projects

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Last year we announced Hardware Studio, an initiative from Kickstarter, Avnet, and Dragon Innovation that helps hardware creators get ready for manufacturing. A major part of that effort is Hardware Studio Connection, which allows qualified creators to get one-on-one advice from the electronics and manufacturing experts at Avnet and Dragon.

The Connection program has been a bit under the radar since then, but that’s about to change. After spending months developing their projects with help from the experts, four participants in the program are launching on Kickstarter today.

These projects will stand out in two ways. All participants in Connection will have a “Hardware Studio” badge under their project video:

And elsewhere on the project page you’ll see one of four insignia awarded by Avnet and Dragon experts. The first is Engaged, which indicates that a project has been accepted into the Connection program. Then there are Ready 1, 2, and 3, which are awarded based on the experts’ assessment of the project’s stage of development, with Ready 3 being the most advanced.

These insignia are meant to help backers gauge the readiness of a creator to fulfill the promises of their Kickstarter project. You can learn more about the insignia system on the Hardware Studio site.

Our mission at Kickstarter is to help bring creative projects to life. We teamed up with Avnet and Dragon on Hardware Studio because we saw that manufacturing problems were tripping up hardware creators after they were funded. That was frustrating for them and, of course, for their backers.

The best way to improve creators’ chances of success, we decided, was to equip them with information and expertise before they launched on Kickstarter. We’re so happy that we now have a system in place that can make this happen, and that Kickstarter creators can benefit from Avnet and Dragon’s deep knowledge and experience.

You can see all Connection projects on this page. And be sure to check out the projects that are launching today. We asked their creators how Hardware Studio Connection had helped them prepare:

RaceYa by Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson: Customizable radio-controlled cars that teach kids about engineering.

“The Connection team really helped us control our bill of materials and ensure we’d thought of all the individual product (and project!) details before we launched. We have a distributed team, so we’ve also found Dragon's Product Planner tool extremely useful for keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to the details of the car’s design.”

Syphon by Daniel Fukuba: Wine dispenser and preserver using argon capsules to protect wine from air.

"The Hardware Studio Connection team helped identify issues we would face as we scaled our designs. This led us to develop automated test fixtures that could simulate years of product use. Their experts also helped analyze our bill of materials so we could appropriately set our campaign funding goal."

MagneTag by Adam Cohen: Wearable electronic scoring system for playing tag, using magnets and foam swords.

"Our first Kickstarter for MagneTag didn't fund, and that was actually a blessing in disguise. When we started building that initial design it became clear that our plan wasn't fully thought out and we would have probably run out of money. The Connection program really helped us understand what drove our costs and revealed potential challenges we might not have seen until it was too late."

RF-1 by J. Kevin Crowell: Cycling computer powered by Android, with dual lights and a video camera.

“Hardware Studio has been extremely helpful in making sure you’re as prepared as you hope you are. By evaluating your project they help you solidify your plans for the next phase, whether that be budgeting, timelines, technology, or engineering."

If you’re working on a hardware project, we hope you’ll consider applying for the Connection program. And if your project is just in the idea stage, remember that our Hardware Studio site is a growing source of practical information that can help with your planning.