I do not normally venture into the corporate world with my blog articles, but today I feel I must make an exception. And the reason is that the global titan known as General Electric has made a clear statement today that it supports the maker movement. And when a giant such as GE shows this kind of spirit of support and co-operation with the Maker community, it is worth writing about.

GE has just launched both their FirstBuild program, and its first project, the Green Bean module.  The Green Bean is a circuit board that will be marketed to hackers and makers which will allow individuals to reprogram their appliances. With this open-source module, nerds such as I will be able to connect Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards, or really any circuitry, to a GE smart appliance and change it. Maybe you want to turn your stove on from your cell phone if you need it preheated on the way home from work. Maybe you want it to send you an IM when your cake is baked. Maybe you feel that your fridge needs to post its own status updates on Facebook. Whatever you want to build, GE is now providing the tools to do it.

And even more amazing, to launch this new program and interface board the company is offering to donate smart appliances to maker spaces and help them learn to use the new devices.

This is a tremendous gesture of goodwill from a commercial giant to a growing independent maker movement. Well done GE!