Seeed Studio is a tech company which develops “an open hardware innovation platform for makers to grow inspirations into differentiating products”. Yesterday Seeed launched a new Kickstarter project called RePhone. It is essentially an open source modular phone kit, which allows to turn literally anything into a smartphone.
While we are still waiting for Project Ara, Puzzlephone and Fairphone, RePhone might be exactly what one needs to have fun with in the meantime and bring to life the craziest of ideas. RePhone allows to redesign the phone into anything you want it to be.
The heart of the RePhone is a GSM module feturing the world’s smallest computer-on-a-chip that easily goes with anything. Users can design RePhone by adding a touchscreen, audio, GPS, NFC, motion sensor, camera, and many other modules. The modules are plugged together via flexible NFC strips. Once modules are connected, users can send texts and make calls, and even set the program.
After the scheme of the phone is designed, RePhone is given a body using the precut kraft paper. RePhone Kit Create allows you to use kraft paper to build and customise cases for the RePhone modules in a variety of styles and shapes. You can play with different design patterns to make the assembled phone unique, or consider leather, bamboo, fabric, or existing objects as an enclosure for RePhone modules. You can also create a phone case using 3D-printing, laser cutting, CNC or injection molding.
Modules can be used in many ways. Think of placing a call to your dog by adding GPS and GSM modules to its collar. A user can program RePhone with IFTTT (If This, Then That) command, so the dog never gets lost, or program the device in a way to help the user communicate with their robot and control it remotely.
Furthermore, you can hack anything around you, giving inanimate objects the power of cellular communication. Have a conversation with your pets, plants, toys, motorcycle helmets, robots, or drones through RePhone’s GSM and 3G functions. RePhone is a set of tools and components that allows everyone, including students, teachers, makers, hackers, geeks, artists, developers and engineers rethink, remix, redesign and remake the phone.
Seeed provides full power SDK based on Eclipse IDE for C/C++ developers to work with high level applications. For those who lack programming skills RePhone has an easy drag and drop feature for files. Simply download the applications online and put it in your RePhone to make it work!
Update: RePhone crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter went on from September 22, 2015 till October 29, 2015, and successfully exceeded the target of $50,000 by collecting $276,866.