Modular approaches are going to be key in the next generation of consumer electronics and mobile products. Many have tried and faltered in creating the next generation of modular smartphones, even 3D Systems and Google were not able to effectively manufacture the Project Ara concept. Now young British startup Buzz Technology is taking a stab at it with two 3D printed prototypes: DRONE-IN-A-PHONE and CAM-ON-A-CABLE.
Founded by British Inventors Project finalist Senake Atureliya, Buzz Technology are showcasing their visions the Gadget Show LIVE! in Birmingham, UK. 3D printing was used extensively to prototype both solutions. DRONE-IN-A-PHONE is a tethered microdrone that folds up and fits into a camera case. By placing the battery into the smartphone case, and using a folding mechanism, Buzz Technology have managed to reduce the size and weight of the drone, thus making it pocket-size. Flight times are significantly increased and the mini drone is also able to withstand strong winds.
Buzz Technology plans to launch this concept as a standalone phone case, seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter later this year.
“We make extensive use of 3D printing technologies to develop our prototypes internally at affordable costs,” says Buzz Technology founder and CEO Senake Atureliya. “We believe that 3D printing is making it possible for startups such as ours to create functional prototypes that could truly take mainstream technologies, such as mobile phones and consumer electronic products in general, in new and fascinating directions.”
The second prototype being showcased is even more remindful of the Project Ara concept, only it currently fucosues exclusively on multiple modular camera lenses. CAM-ON-A-CABLE is a tethered camera solution. Rather than having cameras fixed into the body of your smartphone, Buzz Technology developed a modular prototype that enables them to be removed from the phone and placed on just about anything.
For hand-free photos and videos, the sensor can be clipped onto a set of eyeglasses. For action footage, it can be magnetically mounted on a bike or car. Multiple camera sensors with different lenses can be stored in a single smartphone and simply swapped over to offer super wide angle or macro capabilities. They can even be combined with the DRONE-IN-A-PHONE concept for aerial views on the fly.
Buzz Technology was able to create proof of concept functional prototypes that are being shown at its stand – BIP18 – at the Gadget Show Live, running from March 31st to April 3rd in Birmingham, UK. Bringing these products on the market will require investments and more development but 3D printing is already making it possible to truly think out-of-the-smartphone-case.