Product Development

G.E. Has Teamed Up With Quirky to Let You Play with Its Patents

Plus, the Internet of Things meets collaboration in a fevered TED fantasy come true.
The aftermath.

Quirky’s hip West Side offices.

Hey look, it’s another case of an old-fashioned company teaming up with a fast-moving startup to get a little innovative sheen! This time it’s G.E. and Quirky. The 110-year-old industrial powerhouse will team up with the collaborative product development platform to let Quirky community members riff on thousands of G.E. patents.

G.E. will get royalties on any consumer technologies based on its patents–without having to invest time and money in the development process. That’s not to mention the cool-kid halo effect; the partnership is launching with a Vimeo intro starring Thomas Edison. (Didn’t anyone tell G.E. that the Internet prefers Nicola Tesla?)

The companies are also pairing up for a “co-branded product development initiative to build a full line of app-enabled connected devices for the home in areas such as health, security, water, or air,” according to an announcement. The new line will be called “Wink: Instantly Connected.” That’s a big leap for Quirky, which tends to specialize in more home-decor-type products.

“We are excited to see how the Quirky community uses tools from our scientists and technologists around the world to develop products in an entirely different way,” said G.E. SVP and chief marketing officer Beth Comstock in a statement.

Here are some of the things you mad scientists can now tinker with:

Optical systems, including holographic and fast-focusing lens technologies – GE’s holographic storage technology can be used for archiving large amounts of data and fast-focusing optics technology enables rapid, high resolution 2D image capture of 3D images, currently applicable to markets ranging from contactless fingerprinting, to semi-conductor quality control and medical optics.

Barrier coatings – GE’s Ultra-High Barrier technology enables thinner, lighter electronic devices including smartphones, televisions and solar panels by using thin film encapsulation to protect electronic devices from degradation by moisture and oxygen.

$5 says the main thing that comes from this is another Tupac hologram.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com