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There is now an API to build a low-volume hardware product

February 21st, 2014 No Comments

Put this in the API-for-everything category. Startup CircuitHub, which a year ago launched a library of electronic parts to help makers and hardware startups know what to use in their manufacturing process, today launched a service that lets hardware engineers go from prototype to manufacturing production with one click.

The service lets engineers see the quotes for their board designs and then lets them order between 1 to 10,000 circuit boards a month, with CircuitHub handling the logistics and supply chain. From the company’s release today:

CircuitHub’s fabrication service solves this by abstracting the entire circuit board production process from logistics to factory operations into a web application and API. In so doing, CircuitHub offers instant scale — the ability to quickly and cost-effectively move a design from prototype to high volume.

This will certainly help the small-scale engineering teams that currently are relying on accelerators or shops like Dragon Innovation to get from prototype to product, but it’s also exemplary of a larger trend taking place — the packaging of everything as a service. While the last decade’s big trends led to software eating the world, the rise of automation across a variety of industries from computing to biologics has led to more and more services being packaged together as an API.

The real question with these efforts is how well and reliably these can scale while ensuring high quality and delivery guarantees. Still, I love the trend, and much like Amazon Web Services and platforms like Heroku helped drive the age of customized and niche apps, companies like CircuitHub could offer a similar benefit for hardware.

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