MIT Designs Cell Phones That Assemble Themselves

Screenshot via MIT Self-Assembly Lab
Screenshot via MIT Self-Assembly Lab / Screenshot via MIT Self-Assembly Lab

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).

[h/t FastCo.Design]

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