Autodesk is a big believer in the cloud and says it is a mistake to liken the cloud to the old mainframe/client configuration. The cloud allows what the company calls "infinite computing" -- that is almost unlimited parallel computing power. This in turn has led to new approaches such as computational design where thousands and thousands of iterations can be done in a few seconds, producing optimal designs with interesting and unusual shapes often based on those found in nature.
Theme: the cloud plus the crowd has led to a new business model. Example Kickstarter.com, where individuals invest in the design they like best. This is supposedly a good way for inventors to get funding for their designs. My only qualm is that so-called "angel investors" are not necessarily good guys; in fact, my understanding is that some are just out to take advantage of the little guy.
Moon Express is a company that has young designers who were inspired by FIRST robotics. The company is one of several which, backed by NASA, are aiming to win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a $30 million competition that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the Moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks.
Digital fabrication now lets anyone make anything at anytime. Everyone wants to Make stuff – that is the idea. Tech Shops on the West coast charge users $100/month for accesss to CNC routers, laser cutters, 3D printing machines and the like. One user build a workable jetpack so he could fly. "Open innovation just went nuclear," says a Tech Shop spokesperson.