MIT Media Lab Developing DIY CellphoneThe MIT Media Lab has apparently decided that cellphones aren’t open enough. Researchers there have developed a prototype DIY cellphone that you can snap together yourself from $100-150 in parts. Interesting? Yes. Practical? Not really.
The eventual goal is to release the project as a kit for those with a maker’s sensibility. The kit would ship with all the hardware necessary to snap together the phone including the circuit board, various cellular modems and battery jacks, even an LCD for displaying caller ID. The control pad is numeric, and the prototype uses a fairly attractive(in a homemade way) wooden case with lasercut buttons. Unfortunately, the styling of the device more resembles an early 90’s phone than anything on the market today. The case is huge and you can’t expect anything beyond the most basic functions here. Yes, it works. But the biggest feature is Caller ID.
Still, though, this is an awesome project. The MIT Media Lab has managed to create a cell phone from scratch. That is, unsurprisingly, hard to do. And if the kit ever makes it to market, I imagine that it will see fairly swift business from hackers who plan on using the device for more clever uses.
MIT has managed to do something undoubtedly cool, if not the least bit practical. Though considering the design is open source, who knows? Maybe someone will figure out how to let you replace the 9-volt battery without having to unscrew the entire case.