Aug 082011

Image by Todd Huffman via Flickr

If you’ve ever had a neat idea for an invention but didn’t know where to turn to take it to reality, Ford has a place you can turn to.

TechShop Detroit is a joint project between Ford and do-it-yourself enterprise TechShop set to open in Allen Park, Mich. in November 2011. The membership-based TechShop, which also has locations in California and North Carolina, provides affordable access to tools, machinery and advisors to inventors can develop prototypes of their inventions. Ford is naturally interested in automotive applications, but TechShop is open to all ideas.

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With more than $1 million invested in high-tech equipment alone, TechShop Detroit will feature everything from top-quality prototyping tools and industrial-grade sewing and textile equipment to laser cutting, welding and machine shop-type gear.

“We want this space to inspire all inventive individuals and communities in and around Detroit to innovate and create,” says Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies.

“Detroit is a market area – full of talented communities of makers, hobbyists, backyard mechanics and general tinkerers – that continues to grow,” says Mark Hatch, TechShop CEO, who already has more than 1,500 TechShop members registered at his California and North Carolina workshops.

Part of the physical TechShop shop will be an “Innovation Exchange” in collaboration with non-profit AutoHarvest to give everyday inventors, industry insiders, universities and research labs a secure place to license and display their inventions.

“This showroom idea can be considered TechShop ‘Plus,’” says Ford’s Coughlin. “It will be an open meeting place that will enable inventors to showcase what they create in TechShop and then negotiate, network and even sell their idea to players in the automotive industry, from manufacturers and suppliers to research institutions and start-ups.

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