Modular Technology

Whilst at the maker faire in rome, one presenter spoke of user designed ‘DIY’ phones, that you could download, make and assemble yourself. Through doing a bit of research, I have found that this unique idea comes from a man named David Mellis. His concept for these “DIY” phones lend this personal touch to these pieces of technology that we carry with us constantly and have become virtually extensions of ourselves.

When you think about what a phone really boils down to is a GSM antenna, a battery, some buttons and a screen, a phone could be and look like anything. Unless were talking about an iPhone in which case, a sprinkling of fairy dust is required. Phones have evolved to the point where less really is more, as soon as we started giving more real estate to what the user can really interact with, interfacing became so much simpler to understand what your doing. especially in the context of these laser cut DIY phones, the open source nature of their physicality makes it like android for the hardware.

Well now comes the distant birth child of Mellises projects. Motorola have been developing a phone with modular technology.

What those DIY phones lack in style these modular phones have in spades.

The modular phones also known as “Project Ara” applies this “DIY” user customisation in a far simpler more app orientated solution. These days phones just get more and more powerful every iteration. This power can be misdirected and lost on what many users need in a phone. And depending on the users preference they may desire one feature over another. If your a photographer then a better camera and processor are what you will want, maybe your a gamer, well a better graphics chip and battery are a good start.

What this can do is offset cost and then your phone is no longer unfashionable or unable to keep up with software and technology. This constantly allows your phone to evolve and grow. Now your phone becomes a real investment and partner. Just like how we download apps and create our own user experience, these modular phones take that same concept of apps, and apply it to the hardware of the device.

I highlight all this because I feel like this moular approach looks like a very tangible future for technology.

Update: Razor have recently announced a new prototype for modular computing at CES 2014 and it looks damn cool!

Update 2:




In this Constellation we looked at MAX and its uses, One of which was created a slideshow using a circuit type script. The script for me resembled a flow chart, and once set up I was able to create time delays and alter how the slideshow behaved.

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Playing with an Arduino

I’d never heard of an Arduino before going to the maker faire in Rome. In effect they are for hobbyists and makers. But I found the script writing and  getting an introduction to coding was a great way to gain entry into the complex electronic world.

The pin holes at the top and bottom have number designations which correlate to the script we use on the arduiuno application i.e. pin 13, would be typed and referenced as 13 so the program knows which pin to designate to.

We connected the arduino up to the  computer via USB, using the arduino program. we could tell that the program and ardunio were synced because of a little flashing LED on the arduino.


We then connected LEDs to the breadbox (white board) along with transistors and programmed how they would light up via the ardunio program.

Within the program, we added new pin designations by writing ‘pinMode’ following by the number of the pin point.

The term ‘ switchstate’ was the name given to the switch designation when writing further down, its how we told the program how we wished to refer to the switch. the name could have been anything.


Chair Research

One object I want to do more research for was a chair. Chairs a so symbolic in so many societies, they can formulate hierarchies and delegate power. Kings, queens, politicians families, Gods, they all have chairs for various social/ political endeavours. I also feel that chairs, are a source for the mind to relax and take hold, and allow for our bodies to rest.


The story of Damocles is less specifically about the chair, and more about what it represents, and what chair enforces to those whom sit upon it. A throne is a centre piece for a reason, so everyone can look to you for answers more easily.

The Iron throne

Yes the iron throne is fictional, but in all of fiction, it is rare a piece of furniture commands such presence and power. Yes this is a throne, but it is more than that. Its design is that of power and function. All those swords melted upon it, are like trophies to its sitter.  And no to mention it was intended to be uncomfortable to the sitter so whom ever sat on it, would sit up right and pay attention to their duties of ruling. 


De Stijl

This chair is definitely ugly, that is for sure. I do find myself wondering why it matters what a chair looks like, at the end of the day one would find themselves enjoying a comfortable chair a lot more than a pretty one. Then again, one could look upon this as a sculpture even though that was never the artists intent. The use of primary colours and basic (or lack there of joins displays the artist sought simplicity.

Canvas Chair

I think this is my favourite, I cant decide if I would have one in my home, But what I find this strikes is this almost surreal marriage of the 2D an 3D worlds. Yes it is an optical illusion, theres a steel frame hiding behind all of that. Why am I so allured?

Its like you are reaching into the canvas and taking from it. So clever!

A rocking chair that generates light. I guess this could fall into the category of Chindogu products.

A chair that doubles as a helmet. Also kind of looks like a potty..

Self inflating go anywhere chair? ok…

The ‘Stiletto Chair’ by Ronald Thompson, This chair is made out of a large amount of human hair. Thompson, who has styled the locks of many Miss World contestants, was inspired to recycle hair after working on the set of the film “Batman Begins.” He stretched a piece of fibreglass, which snapped. He did the same thing to a strand of hair, which withstood far more stretching.

He learned that one strand of hair can support 8,750 times its own weight, a head of hair can support over 13 tons and that hair can double its own length before breaking.

Lab work led to a product called Pilius X, the structural basis for the chair and his other proposed inventions. It’s a hair-based bio-polymer mixed with a recyclable bio-resin.



Upcycled Skateboards

Heres a thought for the ready made part of my project.

I wish I though of this! recycled skateboards that make products that actually look good? blasphemy! No really stop reading and look.


Maple XO have been doing just that. They specialise in the recycling of skateboard parts. but whats most surprising about this is that these are products you may actually want.

Skateboards are doomed to a life of rough use, smashing, crashing and eventually snapping. They will end up under your bed, or the back of the garage, or if they are really unlucky, in a skip. I can certainly attest to the fact that I have thrown away all of my old skate decks, and like my old Pokemon games and gameboy colour from my childhood, hold a piece of my life in them, and they are now gone, because I am really stupid.

Maybe these appeal to me so much because I feel like I may be able to recapture what I lost, in a sense.

I still skate today, but on a casual level and not in the way I would skate till the sun goes down with my friends having a laugh.

I suppose recycling these skateboards allow them to live in ‘use’ in some capacity, definitely better than living under your bed.

In a collaboration with portland phone case manufacturer Grove, Maple XO created these ultra sexy iPhone cases. I found an article on the process of how these were made, they stuck the pieces together and then milled it out on a CMC machine.

I want to lick it.

An artist named Haroshi has been using this idea of recycling skateboards to create sculptural pieces, his art is mind blowing and all made with skateboards. What I like most about his art is this sense of attitude, I really feel like he’s not just an artist, but a skater at heart conversing with me through his craft, his work is something I can really connect with as a skater myself.

Haroshi 1

Haroshi’s art is born through various techniques and styles such as wooden mosaic, dots and pixels, these pieces are stuck together then shaved down to create the desired form. Techniques such as this are what I’m looking to employ in wood making, I think it could be great way to allow the character of a material such as wood to really shine.

Im feeling really inspired by this work, and it speaks to me as someone who skates and as an artist, that has grown up in the skating culture since I was nine.

so whats next?

Hello my old friend

Hello my old friend