Remember Project Ara? It’s the project thingy with the concept of users building their own custom – or “modular” – phones using replaceable components (battery, camera module, processor etc.) of their choice.
There’s tangible progress one month on, with Motorola shaking hands with the folks at 3D Systems.
As explained in the accompanying press release, 3D Systems will provide “a continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfilment system”. Er, whatever that means.
Let’s listen to controversial former DARPA director, the strangely attractive (probably because she’s all evil and powerful and stuff) Regina Dugan. She jumped ship from DARPA back in March 2012, and now acts as Senior Vice President and head of Motorola's Advanced Technology & Projects group.
Lady Dugan purrs: "With Project Ara, we asked the question, 'How do we bring the benefits of customization and an open hardware ecosystem to 6 billion people?' That is our driving application.
“It requires technical advances in areas such as material strength and printing with conductive inks for antennas. And those advances must support production-level speeds and volumes, which is a natural partnership with 3D Systems.”
Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems, adds: “Project Ara was conceived to build a platform that empowers consumers all over the world with customization for a product made by and for the individual.”
Cranking the jargon-o-meter, Reichental continues: "3D printing promotes a level of sustainability, functionality, and mass personalization that turns these kinds of global ambitions into attainable local realities.” Well, you gotta have the attainable local realities.
And the best Avi-sentence of all: “Project Ara combines two exponential technologies, and we expect that the resulting high-throughput advanced manufacturing platform will have far reaching implications on the entire digital thread that stitches together the factory of the future."