Over the last couple years, the rise of remix culture has begun to penetrate hardware design and consumer electronics. The emergence of SQUID Labs, O’Reilly’s MAKE community, Neil Gershenfeld’s Fab, open source projects like the TuxPhone and Greenphone coupled with the decline of companies like Sony, have all contributed to new possibilities in opening the design and specification of devices to the consumer. Open source mobile handsets, in particular, offer the possibility of making an end-run around artificial barriers to innovation in the mobile industry.
Scottish-French startup, Crowdspirit, is looking to capitalise on these unfolding trends and help consumers to ‘scratch their own itch’. The service lets members submit ideas and projects, collaboratively define specifications, invest real money if they wish, and finally purchase the product they desire.
As the service isn’t yet open for registration, it’s unclear how sophisticated Crowdspirit’s collaborative tools are, nor how flexible and cost-effective the manufacturing or supply chain will be. Nevertheless, the concept is appealing and creates a valuable mediation between consumers and producers in a market where consumers have little influence and could potentially share in the co-creation of value. On the other hand, we could end up with a generation of Homer-centric products…
I just hope they launch in time to make the rumoured iPod phone fulfil everyone’s projected desires ;)