MIT Is Making Phones That Can Assemble Themselves


MIT researchers have created a cell phone that can assemble itself. Developed by MIT’s Self Assembly Labthis mobile can join itself together in under a minute.

Credits: Fast Code Design
Credits: Fast Code Design

The idea behind this project is pretty simple. Each cell phone has three different parts. 6 pieces are put in a tumbler that begins rotating fast enough to get the pieces to clamp together by corresponding magnets but not too fast to damage or break the parts. Depending on the speed of the tumbler, the assembly can take either a couple of minutes or less than one. See the video below of the assembly process:

The project is currently still in its earlier stages, but lead researcher Skylar Tibbits says that this can revolutionize the design possibilities especially the assembly of smartphone parts.

“Right now the phone is predetermined, and we’re using this process to assemble that phone,” he said. “But imagine you take a circuit board and you have different logical building blocks and those logical building blocks can be tumbled around—you can have different functionalities. Essentially the holy grail is [that] you want complete design freedom.”


Tibbits is a scientist at MIT and his work is mainly focused on objects and materials that can be taught to assemble themselves. His lab, the Self-Assembly Lab, has already experimented on 4D printing that uses 3D printers to create objects that will grow and assemble on their own. The notable products of the lab include a flat-pack furniture that can self-construct and textile that can make self-lacing sneakers.

Credits: Fast Code Design
Credits: Fast Code Design

This project demonstrates how a cell phone could build itself without the need of human resource or automation. This could have far-reaching effects on the manufacturing industry where the companies have been reducing manufacturing costs by either using high-tech automation or shifting labour overseas. The self-assembly method would also eliminate jobs but it will provide automation at a cheaper cost.

What do you think about this self-building mobile? Let us know!

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