Motorola recruits 3D printing company for Project Ara

Motorola gave hope to a lot of smartphone fans who have long been frustrated by the limited number of hardware options available to them when it announced its Project Ara late last month. The wildly ambitious effort seeks to change how we think about hardware design, no longer forced to choose from combinations of phone components as dictated by a manufacturer, but free to combine interchangeable modules to build exactly the phone we’re looking for. While Motorola offered some very cool images of early Ara designs, it was clear there’s still a lot of work to be done, and even the alpha version of the project’s development kit won’t be available until this winter. As we wait to see what becomes of Ara, we get word today of a new partnership Motorola has formed, linking up with 3D Systems.

As shouldn’t be that hard to guess from its name, 3D Systems is heavily into 3D printing – exactly the sort of company you want on your side when you’re setting out to produce a lot of custom hardware like Ara will demand. 3D Systems will be responsible for creating both the Ara enclosure – which we take to mean the “endoskeleton,” as Motorola referred to it – as well as the individual hardware modules which will populate the endo.

It’s good to see Motorola taking this seriously and lining up the help it needs, because Ara has the potential to really change how we shop for phones. It’s probably a long, long way off before it’s anywhere near ready for retail – getting FCC clearances alone threatens to be an abject nightmare – but we can’t wait to see what it becomes.

Source: TechCrunch

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!