David A. Mellis is working on an open-source, DIY cellphone as part of his PhD research at the MIT Media Lab. According to Mellis, the current version of the device is based on the Arduino GSM shield and Arduino GSM library.
“It sports a deliberately low-resolution screen (8 characters, each a 5×7 matrix of LEDs), a laser-cut wooden enclosure, flexure (living hinge) buttons, and a ~1000-line Arduino program that powers the user interface,” Mellis explained in a post published on the official Arduino blog.
“The phone can make and receive phone calls and text messages, includes a phone book and caller ID, and keeps the time. Everything you’d expect from a 20-year old Nokia! (except snake.) I’ve been using various iterations of the project as my primary cellphone for the past six months or so.”
As expected, the phone is open-source and the design files are available on GitHub (hardware,software), with full assembly instructions stored on David’s website.
“The phone has undergone numerous revisions as I’ve tried to get it into a robust, usable form. Here you can see some of those variations. I started with an LCD screen like those found on old Nokia phones, but it would break after a month or so in my pocket, so I switched to the more-robust LED matrix,” Mellis continued.
“The enclosure has had a few tweaks as well, primarily to find a good design for the flexure buttons. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the current incarnation. It seems to be relatively robust, simple enough to assemble by hand and functional enough to use everyday (although a long way from a smart phone). That’s my DIY cellphone.”
Interested in learning more about the DIY Arduino cellphone? Be sure to check out David’s official page here.