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.
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!