Project Ara AraDevCon Day1: April 15th 2014
A Great Grey phone for only 50$ and that too a modular Device.
May seem like a crazy idea, but it’s not half as crazy as what it takes to build it. Google’s ATAP group, led by Paul Eremenko, takes the DARPA philosophy and applies it to building phones.
That’s what the Project Ara is about.
Its a moonshot project out of the Advanced Technology And Products(ATAP) inside Google that are trying to build modular smart phone that will let the consumer swipe out components on a fly. Sound’s like a nerd’s dream but the real dream is to change the way how we make and buy phones in the future.
Project Ara isn’t a phone it’s actually a Project, ATAP a group that somehow came out of DARPA is essentially just making instructions of how the modular phones will work. They are developing a technology where different modular pieces will target each other and are working with partners to make prototypes.
On the Day one of the Conference (Conducted By the Project Head Paul Eremenko) they revealed that on the center of all there will be a UniPro switch (the SV multicontroller entity)or the endoskeleton of the device where you can swipe out or swipe in the phone modules. Well there’s some wild technology inside, Ara is using nextgen super fast networking technology which manages power, hotswaps. The Endo has two 2 x 2 slots, four 1 x 2 slots and two 1 x 1 slots. Even the way the modules slide in to the Endo is futuristic.
The modules use the wireless capacitive pads where the modules communicate with the main board and with other attached modules. The lock in of the module is helped using an Electro-Permanent Magnet, which is a cross of electro magnet and permanent magnet. The magnet has an on state and an off state which it switches using electrical pulse but the best amongst all its a passive component i.e. it consumes no power in both the off and the on state.
Adding all those features which re discussed can make up a very bulky phone but ATAP took that under consideration and has tried to keep the form factor the way it looks elegant. ATAP also confirms that each individual module will be having a water tight aesthetic component with them. Traditional phones put as many part as possible on a single board or even a single chip. And that’s where Project Ara wins the phone will be having separate modules having their own circuitry and thus that will make the phone less bulky and will tend to increase its battery life.
Building the aesthetic is one of the biggest matter of concern, and for that ATAP will be partnering with 3D systems and cubiks(that’s what we guess) to make one of its own kind 3D printer which will be used for making the phone modules. ATAP also yields new possibilities for the phone where it introduces that the phone can use a pulse meter, 3D Camera and even a Thermal imaging sensor, but that all depends on the shell makers (Name for Developers given by Project Ara). Also the team sort of encourages the use of 3D printing for making the components like antenna and other main circuitry modules.
ATAP has also build some specific market models for the device namely: Certification , Non- Certification and the App Developers. Still for making all ambitious plans possible people still have to use these things and for that it will make every model available for the consumer at ease. Well the shells (Modules) can be designed beautifully by the shell maker apps which will be provided by google which can be unique, custom and expressive. Team also expresses that the modules will be dual functional i.e. you can make one module perform more than one functionality if you want. They also confirms that they are working on a sort of new custom style android for the Project Ara Phone.
Well here’s where the future seems more bright, the team is considering of making a kind of anti theft mechanism for the modules so that your data could be safe. The team’s main focus right now is to make a great modular smart phone but it will look beyond making wearables with those little modules. Where companies like Toshiba and Lattice will distribute the FPGA unipro variants Paul quotes that there are only few modules made and thus only few will be available.
The ATAP team has an aggressive ambition of making the phone available to the main consumer till January 2015. Where the makers of the Ara consist of a team of few, they also have partners who will help them make the modules and the prototypes.
The team is there for a very short tenure.
Google thinks that the project has a very wide scope and thus will change the team after a fixed tenure.
So let’s see where the ATAP team here drops the crazy bomb on the world. We will be also providing you with the reveals of day 2 conference.
Source: Project Ara
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