For awhile I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of the components I need to build a working prototype of my OffGRiD project ( http://wiki.2soc.net/doku.php?id=offgrid ).
I don’t need to raise a lot, in fact $1000.00 should do it. I have most of what I need already, but there are a few monolithic costs (the Pixel Qi screen, the solar panel, etc.) that are just a bit beyond what I can swing for something experimental.
It would be a bit of a “throwback” in that I don’t plan to offer any sort of “pre-order” rewards in the typical sense. The goal of the project is to produce a design that can be produced locally after all. What I could offer is early access to the design files and documentation (it will be open-source once it’s refined of course) but I’m not sure what other “perks” would make any sense. I suppose I could offer a prototype unit if someone pledges $1000.00 and foots the entire budget.
I have thought a little about how to make getting your hands on an OffGRiD easier, and perhaps that could be part of the campaign. I’m imagining a website where you could customize the machine by selecting hardware options (different processor boards, storage, batteries, interfaces, etc.) as well as design attributes and have the output of the process be anything from printable files and a BOM to automatically ordering components and printed parts online. Another feature could be connecting customers with makers in their area who they could work with to complete their machine.
If the site described above could be designed in a somewhat generic way, it could be used as a model for any sort of “manufacturing 2.0”-type product. In fact that might be the real project here, and OffGRiD might just be a sort of test run (while still being valuable itself of course :)