Google’s Project Ara is one of the company’s most ambitious projects, an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones that will lower the entry barrier for developers. Users snap in new cameras, batteries, or processors for custom design, like building with Legos. The concept is great—offering unlimited range for both smart and basic phone users and reducing electronic waste; the challenge is how to create design that will bring it all together.
images courtesy of lapka
Russian firm Lapka has jumped in with their own haute couture vision of Ara. Lapka have won awards for innovative designs, and their “environmental sensors” are available at Urban Outfitters. Google approached them to envision a series of blocks meant to explore our body networks and personal environments, and Lapka took inspiration from high-end sneaker fashion. Their concept for Ara is a fabulous, quirky design of functional color blocks offering different systems for healthy living. In the words of company founder Vadik Marmeladov, “Everything about Project Ara is five years ahead of the curve…well, except their design. I think the design should be a visual and cultural milestone as well. »
Scientific devices include the air quality module that collects and analyzes air quality samples. “Air quality affects our comfort, health and other external parts of our environment that we care about,” say the folks at Lapka. “Now you’ll know when and where should you open a window, where to place your yoga mat, and even why you’re dreaming a certain way.” The device also detects volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, fine particles in the air, temperature and humidity. The black EKG module checks the heart’s electrical activity, to analyze unexplained chest pain, whether medication is working and the health of the heart. It can follow friend’s heartbeats and translates heartbeats through a series of vibrations. A light module includes a lux sensor that detects the level of luminance and a UV sensor to advise skin and eye protection, as well as a photo assistant.
The cleverness of the Ara platform allows you to extend the shape of your phone to any dimension. As Marmeladov says. « Our concept, for instance, transforms the phone to desktop mobile laboratory. Imagine making a microscope as a module . . . or a chair. » Apparently there is also a “soul” module, but no information on that one yet. Stay tuned.