The idea of modular phones, devices that can be easily modified by their users still sounds incredible even if it just recently became a reality in the form of LG G5 and a couple of other similar pocket companions. And while industry experts are still arguing about whether modular phones are just a fad or here to stay, a small group of MIT scientists already came up with an evolution of this concept – the self-assembling phones. Namely, the Self-Assembly Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently presented a prototype of a phone that assembles itself.
Sounds impressive? That's not even the best part: as it turns out, the MIT scientists concluded that designing a phone prototype that's capable of putting itself together requires no particularly hi-tech procedures. More specifically, these unique creations are assembling themselves in cement mixers. Depending on the speed of rotation, the current prototypes can be assembled in under a minute. Is that description too abstract? Check out the GIF at the bottom of this article to get a better idea of how the entire process works.
So, what kind of magic makes this work? Well, for starters, the components these prototype phones are made of all feature a lock-and-key mechanism thanks to which they can only be attached to the right parts once they quite literally bump into each other inside a spinning cement mixer. Speaking of bumping, the rotation speed of the mixer must be carefully set before the self-assembly process begins. It has to be fast enough to toss the components around but not so fast that it ends up breaking them. Other than the aforementioned lock mechanism, the components are also secured with a special adhesive once they're set in place and MIT scientists have already discussed the possibility of replacing the adhesive with magnets in the future.
Needless to say, this invention has the potential to completely revolutionize the smartphone manufacturing process. It's still far from being polished enough for commercial implementation but the potential is definitely there. Naturally, if it ever makes its way into the industry, it's likely going to be yet another cause of the rising technological unemployment rates but that's an issue for another day and one which society likely won't tackle before it absolutely has to.