Google and 3D Systems Connect to Develop Modular Smartphones
Kyle Maxey posted on February 28, 2014 |
A new pact between Google & 3D Systems could bring modular 3D printed smartphones to the market ...

3D printing, smartphone, google, 3D systems, Industry giants Google and 3D Systems have joined forces to develop a high-speed 3D printer designed specifically to print smartphones.

Named project Ara, the joint venture is an ambitious plan to create an open hardware platform that will serve as the base for modular mobile phone construction. Similar to Motorola’s modular smartphone concept, Google’s Ara would allow users to customize their phones by choosing which components they’d like to add to the cell phone’s base platform.

As part of the joint venture 3D Systems is currently working hand in hand with Google to create a high-speed printer capable of building full color 600dpi component enclosures.

While the immediate vision for 3D Systems’ role in Ara is purely aesthetic, Google believes that users will eventually be able to print electrical components like antennas that can be integrated into their phones. What’s more, Google’s ambitious vision is eyeing the eventual development of a 3D printer/digital manufacturing technology that can produce conductive materials, plastics and various other metals all within the same machine.

According to an interview in Time magazine, Google’s project is moving along swiftly and a fully functional Project Ara prototype will be debuted in April, with a commercial launch expected next year.

While modular phones might seem like a novelty, the ability to instantly upgrade features like a battery, camera or antenna could make the world of mobile computing even more adaptable; which is especially important as our already vital smartphones may one day become completely indispensible.

Images & Video Courtesy of Google ATAP

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