Good call: Motorola's Project Ara is a mobile phone that customers will be able to build themselves
To make the parts for it, Motorola has turned to the company that made the first 3D printer 20 years ago – South Carolina-based 3D Systems.
Motorola announced its plans for a modular phone in October – now it has revealed that core parts for the phone will be 3D-printed.
Called Project Ara, it’s a phone that users will be able to customise in the same way that you can with Lego.
The parts could be a battery, a keyboard, the display – or a component that hasn’t even been invented yet.
The partnership certainly has an appealing symmetry, as Motorola invented the handheld mobile phone, back in 1973.
However, the Project Ara 3D-printing concept is so cutting-edge that the technology hasn’t even been perfected yet.
Regina Dugan, Senior Vice President and head of Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, said: ‘It requires technical advances in areas such as material strength and printing with conductive inks for antennas.
Rudy Krolopp, former Motorola Design chief and designer of the world's first mobile phone, holding his invention (left)
‘And those advances must support production-level speeds and volumes, which is a natural partnership with 3D Systems.’
Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems, said: 'Project Ara was conceived to build a platform that empowers consumers all over the world with customization for a product made by and for the individual.
'3D printing promotes a level of sustainability, functionality, and mass personalisation that turns these kinds of global ambitions into attainable local realities.'