Smartphones are becoming our most intimate and empowering objects in our lives. Yet about 5 billion of us don’t have one. Google Project Ara is a development effort to create a modular hardware ecosystem around smartphones, with the goal of delivering the mobile internet to the next 5 billion people.
Thanks to Project Ara, users can create a modular smartphone that is precisely tailored to their functional and aesthetic preferences. It all starts with the “endo”, the structural frame and data backbone of the device. Next, “modules” can be easily inserted and removed at any time, even while the device is powered on. Ultimately, customers can configure an Ara phone from scratch or buy a complete one and modify it with additional modules through the Ara Module Marketplace. Ara has also the advantage of relatively low starting price (probably $50-$100), as well as pricing for modules that can beat the cost of dedicated equipment by huge margins.
Google’s Project Ara modular smartphones won’t be available until later this year, and only in Puerto Rico, but developers are already trying to figure out ways to innovate with the building hardware modules. Vestigen, a Slovak company specialized in biomedical technologies, is actually trying to build smart sensors that can, using various test strips, do amazing things ranging from analyzing water quality for drinkability, to using a drop of blood to measure sugar levels.
As you can see on the above video, this really looks like a breakthrough technology that has only been seen in science fiction movies before. The device is capable of testing specific fluids such as blood, water or food after dropping them on a sterile microchip without additional tools or chemical substances. The information collected can be transferred to a smartphone to be analyzed, stored and/or shared, for instance with a doctor. No additional tools, solutions or chemicals needed.
Monitoring your health or the environment has never been this easy.