Motorola to work with 3D Systems in creating the Project Ara modular phone

3D Systems has signed a multi-year deal with Motorola to create a 3D printing production platform and fulfilment system for the Project Ara modular phone.

Moto 2 Motorola to work with 3D Systems in creating the Project Ara modular phone

Motorola announced last month that it intends to make the Phoneblocks concept a reality, and said that it would build a modular mobile device that would one day feature interchangeable hardware.

Today, Motorola announced a significant milestone toward achieving that goal. It will now collaborate with 3D Systems, which will act as the manufacturing partner for the Project Ara modular phone. 3D Systems has signed a multi-year deal with Motorola which sees it building a new-age factory that will be able to fabricate hardware modules for the Project Ara mobile device.

Regina Dugan, Senior Vice President and head of Motorola’s Advanced Technology & Project, clarified what Motorola is trying to achieve with this project.

“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,” she said. “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.”

This isn’t the first time the two organizations have collaborated, as Motorola has worked with 3D Systems on the MAKEwithMOTO tour, which involved a series of hackathons at various engineering and design schools across the U.S. The tour involved going to colleges and allowing students to build their dream mobile devices. Students could customize and manufacture their devices by using 3D Systems’ tools like 3D printers and laser cutters.

Now, it has been exclusively tasked with building a printing production platform that would eventually build finished components that would go on the modular device.  These include the likes of the chassis, battery, memory units and CPU modules. 3D Systems pans to combine additive and subtractive manufacturing methods in order to deliver an integrated production platform.

Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems, said during the announcement, “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. 3D printing promotes a level of sustainability, functionality, and mass personalization that turns these kinds of global ambitions into attainable local realities.”

Clearly, 3D Systems understands the magnitude of the challenge that it has to undertake. We just have to wait and see if it manages to deliver.

Source: 3D Systems

Harish Jonnalagadda is an avid reader of science-fiction novels. A long-time Arsenal fan, his other interests include gaming, basketball and making music. He also likes tinkering with hardware in his free time.