Ideas Promo

Innovators Take Spotlight in Mouser’s “Engineering Big Ideas” Series

May 18, 2020
This series looks at how entrepreneurs in different segments of the industry turned an idea into successful products and services.

Having a great idea is a necessary first step to creating a breakthrough product. But the journey from there can be long, with many critical decisions along the way that can make or break an entrepreneur’s dreams.

Mouser Electronics explored the process of turning an idea into a successful product in its recent Empowering Innovation Together four-part video series, Engineering Big Ideas, which features long-time spokesperson and celebrity engineer Grant Imahara. The series explores the steps involved in the product design and engineering process from conception to commercialization. Imahara takes viewers across the globe, from Milan to Oregon, diving deep into the key processes of discovery, prototype, design and manufacturing with featured businesses Nikola Motor Company, Arduino, Crowd Supply, and Valley Services Electronics.

Discover with Nikola Motors

To kick off the series, Imahara visits the Arizona test track of Nikola Motor Company to speak with CEO Trevor Milton. In bringing its vision for hybrid truck design to market, Nikola Motor Company is revolutionizing the economic and environmental impact of commerce in the process.

Milton’s design thinking led him down a completely new road: a truck powered by electricity using a hydrogen fuel cell. Such an approach gains a significant weight advantage compared to an electric semi using batteries and is a clear winner when it comes to operating efficiency over medium to long hauls; this helps Nikola’s Tre truck operate with a 750-mile range. Also, hydrogen is readily produced, and the only emission resulting from the electrochemical reaction is water. Furthermore, refueling a hydrogen cell takes only 15 minutes, compared to the many hours required to fast-charge batteries, thus saving considerable off-road time on long hauls.

Design with Arduino

In the world of design, open source has come to mean more than Linux and configurable hardware: Now the doors from idea to prototype to production have flung wide open. Imahara visits with Arduino co-founder and CTO Massimo Banzi to learn how Arduino has become the perfect prototyping platform for innovators, having been adopted by a worldwide community of makers including students, hobbyists, programmers, and artists eager to express their creativity and prototype an idea.

The Arduino architecture has evolved to incorporate 32-bit microcontroller versions, a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), wireless modules, and wired networking capabilities. Most importantly, Arduino has made learning about embedded computing and real-world interfacing accessible to all—not a dark art just for formally trained software and hardware professionals.

Crowdfunding with Crowd Supply

In the third episode, Imahara and Crowd Supply President Josh Lifton take a more in-depth look at the available processes and resources that shape and guide an idea from concept to reality. Crowd Supply helps ease the pain of product commercialization by combining financial resources, engineering support, and a route to market all in one place, like a business incubator.

By tapping into pools of small contributions from interested backers, entrepreneurs and creators can see their product idea come to life. Once a product gets manufactured, Crowd Supply can manage all of the details of fulfillment, including logistics, regional differences, and tax requirements. This key area of expertise helps entrepreneurs turn into innovative market players.

[Suggested image: screen shot from third or fourth episode]

Develop with Valley Services Electronics

While powering up a compelling prototype is a significant achievement, that doesn't necessarily mean a product idea is production-ready. In the final episode, Imahara and Beth Kendrick, President of Valley Services Electronics (VSE), examine how entrepreneurs can choose a contract manufacturer to take their prototype PCB to production.

It can be a daunting task to understand all of the factors involved in engaging a contract manufacturer: location, engineering experience and resources, production facilities, turnaround times, and component sourcing and planning. VSE provides a clear example of how a prototype design can be fast-tracked through all certified production processes and delivered as an assembled and tested PCB within days with its VSE Rapid PCBA Manufacturing Process.

The Empowering Innovation Together program is one of the most recognized and notable electronic component educational programs, highlighting a range of innovative developments from IoT and smart cities of the future to robotics technologies. The Engineering Big Ideas series is co-sponsored by Mouser’s valued manufacturer partners Analog Devices, Intel, Microchip Technology, and Molex.

To learn more about this and all of Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Together episodes, visit and follow Mouser on Facebook and Twitter.

Sponsored Recommendations


To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Electronic Design, create an account today!