In the future, manufacturing a cell phone could be as easy as tossing the components in a tumbler. That’s what researchers at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab have figured out with their latest endeavor, Co.Design reports.
The tech behind MIT’s self-assembling cell phone prototype is deceptively simple. After loading a rotating cylinder with the phone’s six separate parts, it comes out as one, complete unit. The pieces are magnetized and designed to lock together like pieces of a puzzle. Just a few minutes of banging around is all it takes for them to snap together in the correct configuration.
MIT used a similar method to design their self-assembling chairs, except those components were tossed in turbulent water instead of a tumbler. Their idea for cell phone assembly is already easier and cheaper than the automated techniques currently in use by phone manufacturers; the major challenges are designing the parts to fit just right and rotating them fast enough for them to smash together without breaking. If manufacturers can find a way around those obstacles, the process of putting phones together could potentially get a lot more efficient (and a bit noisier).
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