A group of electrical engineers from Toronto, Canada, felt left out of the whole online collaboration boom. After all, folks could edit text, spreadsheets, and presentations on Google Docs and code together with GitHub. But online collaboration wasn’t really available to hardware designers.
The three, Zak Homuth, Michael Woodworth, and Steven Hamer, started the company Upverter to create what they say are the first cloud-based EE tools, working for the past year, in Homuth's parents basement and then for six months at startup incubator Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. They built tools for drawing schematics in HTML5, and launched a crowd-sourced library of parts and design tools. They tested the service with 500 Alpha users, then, at DemoFall 2011 held this week in Santa Clara, Calif., they opened Upverter to the public, reporting excitedly that 1000 new users signed on in the first day. Homuth explains Upverter in the video above. Says Homuth “If it plugs in or turns on it can be designed faster in Upverter.” More from Homuth in the video above.
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Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.