Project Ara video shows off customization options and new modular tech

By on April 4, 2014, 4:45 PM
google, prototypes, customization, project ara, modular smartphone

The Project Ara smartphone team has released a new video showing off its latest progress. Along with noticing the project still appears to be quite early in development, we catch a quick glimpse of some of the tech the team is implementing at this stage.

One main component featured in the video is the new magnet technology being used to hold the various modules of the device in place. The team is now using what is called electro-permanent magnets (made of a permanent magnet and an electromagnet) which offer a much more dependable and durable connection while still allowing for users to easily mix and match modules.

We also catch a glimpse of what some of the stylized modules could look like courtesy of the 3D Systems Corp., which is handling that end of production for Project Ara at this point. From the video it appears they are just 3D printed prototypes and that the team is still working on various color options and durability. We see the multi colored/textured blocks as expected, along with some with images printed on them and others with what appears to be a protruding 3D image.

The video ends with a quick glimpse at the Ara Configurator app as it sits at this point, which allows users to browse Ara parts to try them out. It will be quite sometime before anyone will get to do that though, judging by the video it appears the modular smartphone is still a ways off from hitting store shelves.

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