It's been nearly a year to the day since Kickstarter announced Hardware Studio, a program designed to guide independent creators down the path of designing and manufacturing before launching on the crowdfunding site.

In addition to lending a helping hand to creators, the initiative - in partnership with Avnet and Dragon Innovation - is meant to reduce the overall risk associated with pledging to support a project from a backer's perspective (after all, there's about a one in 10 chance that the Kickstarter you back will fail to deliver).

Kickstarter said at the time that projects participating in Hardware Studio Connection - one of two key layers of the program - would have the opportunity to be highlighted on the crowdfunding platform. Now, they're making good on that promise.

Julio Terra, head of Kickstarter's Design and Tech community, said in a recent post on the Kickstarter blog that four participants in the program - the RF-1 cycling GPS, the MagneTag battle system, the Syphon wine preservation system and the RaceYa RC car - have now launched on Kickstarter.

Participating creators will be uniquely identified by a Hardware Studio badge under their project video. Their campaign will also feature one of four insignia awarded by Avnet and Dragon experts to signify their level of preparedness: Engaged, Ready Level 1, Ready Level 2 and Ready Level 3.

"Engaged," for example, simply means that a project has been accepted into the Connection program while a "Ready Level 3" designation is reserved for a product that is ready for manufacturing and delivery risks are low - it just needs funding for manufacturing.

Hardware Studio offers no guarantees that a product will ship as intended but it does grant some peace of mind. If a creator is willing to go through the program, it at least demonstrates that they're taking the whole process seriously.