As the year went by
How fast things can change. Just over a year ago Dave Hakkens was a graduate student at Design Academy Eindhoven and presented his Phonebloks and Precious Plastic concepts. Next thing Hakkens found himself travelling the world, as his short review of 2014 shows. And in less than two weeks from now the Ara Spiral 2, a working prototype of a modular phone, will be presented at the Project Ara Developers Conference.
The Phonebloks concept grew out of his annoyance with the malfunctioning of one single component that renders an electronic device redundant. Taking the smartphone as an example, Hakkens envisioned a new future of modular electronic devices. The video in which he describes the project reached over 380,000,000 people in no time. Now Phonebloks is an independent organization that encourages the development and manufacture of products that generate less electronic waste.
Project ARA, launched by Motorola and continued by Google, was the first to embrace the concept. The project is to create an open, modular smartphone platform that makes hardware more like software apps. An update video offers an impression of the current phase of the project, with a working prototype scheduled for presentation on 14 January at the second Project Ara Developers Conference.
In the meantime, Hakkens is picking up his Precious Plastic project again. Last month he put out a job offer for a machine developer to help him bring the project to a next level. Using the money (10,000 euro) he received together with the Social Design Talent Award from the city of Eindhoven, Hakkens plans to spend the next six months working on a 2.0 version of his machines for plastic recycling. As can be expected from Hakkens by now, the new open source machines have to be modular, customizable and user friendly. If things go just as quickly this time, we should all have our private plastic recycling plants at home by next year.