Community > Forum > The Spaceflight Cafe > Modular Hardware

Modular Hardware

Posted by: box - Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:40 am
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 17 posts ] 
Modular Hardware 
Author Message
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 4:32 am
Posts: 207
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Modular Hardware   Posted on: Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:40 am
I was wondering if anyone here knows of projects out there that would mimic and improve what PCs do.

Specifically interested in mobile devices.

The "idea" is that you have "simple" components like antenna/communication assembly, screen assembly, computing assembly, power assembly, sound/camera/peripheri assembly ec...

You design these to be easily swappable and even stackable like lego. By easy I mean not through removing tons of screws and careful handling of intricate connectors and parts...

So not only you could switch out each assembly as you can afford or upgraded versions come along, but you can also try stacking them in other configurations or designing your own "building blocks" to add functionality.

So a kind of techno lego.

_________________
"SCREW THE RULES, WE HAVE MONEY!"
http://www.freespaceships.com


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:38 am
No market.

The vast majority of consumers just want a simple device that does what they think they want it to do as simply as possible. They are conditioned to expect a shiney new and improved model to come out before the new wears off their old, semi-disposable one. The profit margins are much greater on selling whole devices than customizable components.

For everyone else there is tinkering with Arduno and shield modules or the various crowdsourced smartphone projects.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 4:32 am
Posts: 207
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:32 am
I was just wondering if anyone here knows of something similar out there.

I know of arduino and raspberry pi both potentially could be repurposed to make a mobilephone, but I was wondering if you could have different components similar to how PC's are done, but doing it in small devices like mobile phones or tablet sized computers.

I have a laptop with a broken screen, I am using another used lcd screen I bought for 30 dollars so I can keep using my laptop. My wife's iphone lcd gave up yesterday. In the apple store they told us they can't fix it and we will have to buy another new phone. The funny part is that a tiny mobile repair store replaced the lcd in one hour.

Both laptops and mobiles are designed so you practically have to replace the whole thing if something goes wrong, or even if you decide to try and fix it, it means a lot of headache, need different manuals for the different models, and just doing the fixing requires a lot of specialised knowledge and skills so you can't really do it yourself.

I wonder if that could be changed. It's just frustrating me how much waste we are producing because our computing technologies are designed to keep the industry pumping out new products we wouldn't need if their products were designed and manufactured well to begin with.

This isn't economical on the long run, we know it isn't, we talk about reducing our impact on our environment, but we practically do nothing towards that goal.

_________________
"SCREW THE RULES, WE HAVE MONEY!"
http://www.freespaceships.com


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
avatar
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:44 am
Posts: 707
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:54 pm
It's mainly a space issue. The larger laptops usually allow you to swap the hard disc/SSD, main memory, optical drive, and perhaps Wi-Fi card. An Ultrabook doesn't, because there's simply not enough space in there for the additional connectors, bays, and casing; everything will be soldered onto the main board directly. Same thing goes for smart phones and tablets. You can do it with a PC, because there's much more space (volume-wise, I could probably stack about 12 copies of my 14" laptop in my not-too-big tower case).

The PC100 standard is modular and used a lot in industrial automation as well as rocketry, but it's not exactly tablet-sized either.

_________________
Say, can you feel the thunder in the air? Just like the moment ’fore it hits – then it’s everywhere
What is this spell we’re under, do you care? The might to rise above it is now within your sphere
Machinae Supremacy – Sid Icarus


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:47 am
Posts: 521
Location: Science Park, Cambridge, UK
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:38 pm
box wrote:
I was just wondering if anyone here knows of something similar out there.

I know of arduino and raspberry pi both potentially could be repurposed to make a mobilephone, but I was wondering if you could have different components similar to how PC's are done, but doing it in small devices like mobile phones or tablet sized computers.

I have a laptop with a broken screen, I am using another used lcd screen I bought for 30 dollars so I can keep using my laptop. My wife's iphone lcd gave up yesterday. In the apple store they told us they can't fix it and we will have to buy another new phone. The funny part is that a tiny mobile repair store replaced the lcd in one hour.

Both laptops and mobiles are designed so you practically have to replace the whole thing if something goes wrong, or even if you decide to try and fix it, it means a lot of headache, need different manuals for the different models, and just doing the fixing requires a lot of specialised knowledge and skills so you can't really do it yourself.

I wonder if that could be changed. It's just frustrating me how much waste we are producing because our computing technologies are designed to keep the industry pumping out new products we wouldn't need if their products were designed and manufactured well to begin with.

This isn't economical on the long run, we know it isn't, we talk about reducing our impact on our environment, but we practically do nothing towards that goal.


Making things modular increases the cost dramatically. The reason? Connectors. Case in point, the Raspberry Pi has a couple of connectors on it, once for a camera and one for a DSI display (It cannot really be repurposed as a phone BTW, without a load of other circuity). Over $150k was spent on those connectors in the 1.5M Raspis's sold (as of a month or two ago), and as yet, only 10k camera boards have been made to use them. That's a lots of money so far wasted on connectors. All the connectors on the Raspi itself almost double the cost of the board.

Modularity is nice, but expensive - and mobile manufacturers spend a lot fo time reduces cost as much as possible. It also makes devices larger, which in the mobile world is also a no-no.

Re: Apple/other repairs - they are simply not interesting in repairs when they can sell you a new phone instead.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:28 pm
box wrote:

I wonder if that could be changed. It's just frustrating me how much waste we are producing because our computing technologies are designed to keep the industry pumping out new products we wouldn't need if their products were designed and manufactured well to begin with.

This isn't economical on the long run, we know it isn't, we talk about reducing our impact on our environment, but we practically do nothing towards that goal.


It's the nature of the beast and a necessary evil if you want to the any kind of technological advance. Companies have to have an economic incentive in order to innovate technology and products. Simple competition or interest in neato products aren't enough. This has driven the current market structure we have now and why you have personal computers the size of a cigarette box with more power than early super computers instead of that era's bakalite telephones.

But yeah, the downside is that our capitalistic consumer economy is "eat or die", it has to keep ravenously pumping out incrementally improved/different products in order to attract resources and keep the development and production pipelines open.

Ideally it would be "closed loop" where old(er) products could be recycled into newer better ones, but even if you could, there would still be waste and entropy. We aren't there. With the way the world is and will be for the foreseeable future, you can't get to anything else from here.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 4:32 am
Posts: 207
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:35 am
Thanks for the replies.

So the general points seem to be:
- modularity costs space
- and modularity is expensive because of the connectors
- the nature of our economy drives us to producing throw away devices

It seems when I look at the raspberry pi and arduino the connectors are huge compared to other components.

So then one clear objective to make small computing devices more pclike is designing cheaper and smaller connectors?

And another objective would be to figure out how this system can be made more economically desirable for the mainstream to follow. That would require a whole cost/revenue analysis of a sort comparing the two products throughout their lifetime from manufacturing to disposal.

_________________
"SCREW THE RULES, WE HAVE MONEY!"
http://www.freespaceships.com


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:54 am
Raspberry and Arduino are designed for experimentation and for tinkerers. A completely different market than the mass market devices.

Where your concept comes closest to touching reality is in the "wearable computers" and in bio-integrated electronics, cybernetics. These technologies favor components being modularized. To be better integrated into clothing, prosthesis, or other body form factor articles, the processors, memory, power and I/O can be spread out more easily than a handset where the driver is tight integration into a single unit.

It helps that in addition to being practical, wearables also appeal to techies and early adopters, IMO much more so than just a cludgy modular handset would.
So, if you want to advocate that, or find a "best case" scenario for your idea, I would use that instead of conventional smart phones/computers.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 4:32 am
Posts: 207
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:22 am
JamesG wrote:
Raspberry and Arduino are designed for experimentation and for tinkerers. A completely different market than the mass market devices.

Where your concept comes closest to touching reality is in the "wearable computers" and in bio-integrated electronics, cybernetics. These technologies favor components being modularized. To be better integrated into clothing, prosthesis, or other body form factor articles, the processors, memory, power and I/O can be spread out more easily than a handset where the driver is tight integration into a single unit.

It helps that in addition to being practical, wearables also appeal to techies and early adopters, IMO much more so than just a cludgy modular handset would.
So, if you want to advocate that, or find a "best case" scenario for your idea, I would use that instead of conventional smart phones/computers.


Wearable computers sound interesting.

Especially if combined with recent technologies that might enable us to use the temperature difference between our bodies and surroundings to power electronics.

But partially in my thinking I was actually cpnsidering emerging markets in Africa and Asia where there already are attempts at repurposing used or refurbished smartphones to be used in small classes with makeshift projectors to get education to remote areas. /seen some ted talks about this/

They also seem to have a lot of this "tinker" culture in the form of small specialist stores where they fix and modify mobile phones and all their skills are self taught and learned from schematics or eachother.

Today they are using technologies not developed for such tinkering, but what if we developed and implemented such technologies on large scale. With the Arduinos and raspberry like boards coming out, there seems to be a trend in hobby circles for diy computation, and these open source technologies probably do slowly spread into the developing world as they get more and more connected. Home automation might actually be a lot more useful in such developing countries where smart gadgets like elephant or lion deterrent light shows during the night can save a lot of money, as well as the wildlife from being exterminated.

The arduino has become a great success because it allows for tinkering and repurposing, and I think we could build a whole different personal computing economy on the technology. Add in the developments in AI, swarm behavior, and drone technologies, and the future becomes extremely exciting and unpredictable. /to some a bit scary/ :D

_________________
"SCREW THE RULES, WE HAVE MONEY!"
http://www.freespaceships.com


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:40 am
Posts: 433
Location: California and Michigan
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:04 pm
Modular over the shelf cell phone parts + Adhoc mobile mesh net = free to use phone with no "locks"

100% free and user controled like it should be....

http://emergentbydesign.com/2011/02/11/ ... -networks/

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searc ... EDV6NETusJ

_________________
Let not the bindings of society hold you back from improving it.... the masses follow where the bold explore.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:10 pm
box wrote:

Today they are using technologies not developed for such tinkering, but what if we developed and implemented such technologies on large scale. With the Arduinos and raspberry like boards coming out, there seems to be a trend in hobby circles for diy computation,


The first real personal computers were built DIY by hobbyists. Nothing new.


Quote:
Home automation might actually be a lot more useful in such developing countries where smart gadgets like elephant or lion deterrent light shows during the night can save a lot of money, as well as the wildlife from being exterminated.


Robotic dart guns?


Quote:
The arduino has become a great success because it allows for tinkering and repurposing, and I think we could build a whole different personal computing economy on the technology.


"Great" is very relative. The entire DIY computer and electronics market is and will always be a miniscule fraction of the large consumer electronics market. Most people either have no interest in how their electronic things work, or don't have the time to fool with them. They just want them to work right out of the box, and be as easy and painless to use as possible. That will probably accelerate as electronics get even more sophisticated and further out of the range of someone being able to put one together at their desk with a soldering iron.

Quote:
Add in the developments in AI, swarm behavior, and drone technologies, and the future becomes extremely exciting and unpredictable. /to some a bit scary/ :D


Yes, lots or potential for mischief.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:40 am
Posts: 433
Location: California and Michigan
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:26 am
What about true "Hive computers" that all shared CPU time.....

That were also ad hoc network.....

Add more people, all get faster phones...

instant 3d rendering on a phone....

_________________
Let not the bindings of society hold you back from improving it.... the masses follow where the bold explore.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:43 am
That assumes you want to share your clock cycles and bandwidth so that others can play games etc. which is really the only use that you would need to eek that much processing power out of handsets for.

The adhock network is a good idea, unfortunately it goes against the grain of established business models and technology investment. That means on the large scale, it will never happen, and unless it is mass adopted, it can't see the gains/advantages it promises.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 4:32 am
Posts: 207
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:04 am
I just saw this and thought I should share. :D

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57602510-1/phonebloks-a-modular-phone-you-update-a-piece-at-a-time/

_________________
"SCREW THE RULES, WE HAVE MONEY!"
http://www.freespaceships.com


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:40 am
Posts: 433
Location: California and Michigan
Post Re: Modular Hardware   Posted on: Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:27 pm
check out serval mesh, and open garden, mix this with something like phonebloks and you have a free net,

I think that this concept will not be doable unless they use wireless power broadcasting coils and move data as light.(phonebloks) as the amount of pin connections for the bus of a modern device would be insane.

_________________
Let not the bindings of society hold you back from improving it.... the masses follow where the bold explore.


Back to top
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests


cron
© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use