Sure, you’ve heard of phones you can build yourself, such as Google’s Project Ara, but what about a phone that assembles on its own?
The aptly named Self-Assembly Lab at MIT has come up with a cell phone that puts itself together, Fast Company reports, a process that could revolutionize how handsets – or anything, really – are made in the future.
Various parts go inside a cement mixer-like tumbler, and as the components are tossed around they eventually form into functional phones.
There’s really no magic to it: the components have lock-and-key mechanisms and magnets that only allow components that are supposed to stick together to stay stuck. Self-Assembly Lab Co-Director Skylar Tibbits tells Fast Company all the pieces are there, so to speak, to scale the process up for mass production.
Yes, the phone’s design brings a whole new meaning to “rough and tumble”, but the implications here are in manufacturing. It could further automate the phone-assembly process, and companies could use sorters that are already sifting through components to put handsets together, too.
What’s more, it could lead to ultimate design freedom – phones that build themselves could come in as many sizes and shapes as the parts allow, creating unique handsets for users from the same materials.
While the process would unfortunately likely lead to job losses, it could save companies money, which might drive down the cost of phones for consumers.
The process is still in the early stages, but we’ll see if self-assembling phones ever catch on.
Top image credit: Fast Company
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