When the modular phone concept, PhoneBloks first hit the internet, the majority of us were awestruck, it was a striking idea that many had already thought of presented in a manner that not only seemed possible but appealing. That was the big take away from PhoneBloks, and it was soon announced afterwards that Motorola was working on something similar with Project Ara, which has now stayed on at Google, and is being actively worked on. Well, now some enterprising folk in the UK are taking the same approach to smartwatches with their new concept, Blocks.
Blocks is pretty much what you think it is, it's a smartwatch that's made up of different modules depending on what features you want in a smartwatch. It's worth rememebering that this is still very much of a concept, but there is hope for something concrete to come out of such experimentation. The UK team, which was founded by two students from the London Imperial College has now grown to eight. Their reasoning for such a device is that there are many features and many different wearables out there already, wouldn't it be great to pick and choose what you want? For instance, you could build a lightweight fitness-focused smartwatch, by choosing GPS, large battery, eInk display and more. For people like myself – whom love the touchscreen on the Sony SmartWatch 2 – will be able to create a more gadgety-type watch with a touchscreen, microphone and more.
As this is simply a concept, there's no guarantees that this is ever going to come to market, but the team does have a proof-of-concept prototype. Serge Vasylechko has been speaking to TechCrunch and has said that "We currently have a functional prototype that proves the concept. More specifically â€” that the connections are reliable enough to send data from block to block, and that the communication protocol can support the data rate at which the information is being transferred around the device."
Concepts are cool and all – we like looking forward – but it's going to be some time before we see something like this be viable for the everyday consumer. That doesn't mean this sort of thing should stop however, far from it. This sort of thing is great to see, and we hope that more comes of this. After all, iterative technology has become one of the largest sources of waste on the planet.