GE and Local Motors have announced a partnership that will collaborate on a co-creation and micromanufacturing model to utilize the Local Motors crowd-sourced engineering and design teams and advanced technologies from GE to facilitate manufacturing on a small to medium scale.

The partnership will source collaborative ideas online from a community of engineers, scientists, fabricators, designers and enthusiasts who will focus on identifying market needs and solving deep engineering challenges to unlock breakthrough product innovations. As part of the partnership, a new microfactory – a specialized facility focused on prototyping and producing a small batch of products at a rapid pace – will be established where community ideas will be built, tested and sold.

The open platform, FirstBuild, will officially launch in the summer of 2014 and will be the home for a global community of innovators to prototype, iterate and refine existing GE products, as well as surface new designs. The most popular innovations may then be selected for testing, rapid prototyping and small volume production at the microfactory, which will be open to the public.

The collaboration expects to see the first products to market this year.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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