David Mellis is the co-creator of Arduino platform and has recently made available blueprints for a cellphone that anyone can use to create a cellphone. He has made use of the readily available Arduino GSM Shield that enables the Arduino-based gadgets to connect to web over cellular networks. However, it has brought in diversity when it comes to the software and hardware features. He has made support for buttons, speaker, display, full interface and a microphone. The finalized product is a very basic cellphone capable of making and receiving calls, text messages, storing names and numbers while also being able to display time.
David Mellis is currently at MIT’s Media Lab and has released the guide to creating this cellphone on Github. He has also uploaded the circuit board plans to the custom printer OSH Park, which will be printing 3 copies of the board for the cost of $60. There is a detailed guide for the casing as well that can be built from plywood from laser-cutting, however, the Media Lab members have experimented with their own cases using milling, 3D printing and laser cutting. In the words of Mellis, the DIY phone costing $200 is ‘a difficult but potentially do-able project’.
The complete circuit board sandwiched in the plywood shell
Circuit board has its edges exposed while the phone is assembled and this can be seen because of the sliver of green that is visible from the plywood shell
The circuit board is economical, however, the parts incorporated into it increase the overall cost with the 8-character LED display costing $39.19 and the 6.4mm speaker costing $11.83
Instructions also cover a variant that is based on LCD. Although this variant is capable of displaying more information as compared with the LED, it is still far more economical with a price tag of $9.95. The downside is the bad news that Mellis told; it breaks over time
LED phone by Mellis can be seen placed beside the LCD based ‘Purpleheart’ phone by Dena Molnar
Making use of a laser cutter carries out crafting of a phone case
Dena Molar can be seen repairing her phone
This phone compares with HTC Mini when it comes to looks, don’t you think?
And the magnificent cellphone again!
Amit Zoran, MIT Media Lab, came up with a highly intricate case
Engineer Ben Peters made use of 3D printing to create this
Yoav Sterman, MIT Media Lab Industrial Engineer placed the internals into a milled enclosure thus taking away the exposed circuit board look
You can download the blueprints for this DIY project here. All photos copyright David Mellis, republished under a Creative Commons license.