FORTUNE — It’s been brewing for some time, but last year’s $403 million sale of Makerbot made it real: New York is a place for hardware innovation. Not only could the city produce a big splashy hardware exit, it could support a whole host of younger startups, including Quirky, the platform for inventors of consumer electronics; Adafruit Industries, maker of DIY electronics kits; and Shapeways, another 3-D printing startup.
Ayah Bdeir has had a front-row seat to the growth in hardware startups as a founder of the Open Hardware Summit and leader in creating an industry-standard Open Hardware Definition. She’s also leading a startup of her own, littleBits, which makes electronic module sets for hardware prototyping. According to her, New York has a few advantages over Silicon Valley and Asia for hardware. Her take: