An article by Venturebeat charts the demise of the now disbanded modular phone Google’s Project Ara- a refreshing hardware alternative which would allow you to update phone parts relative to technological innovations instead of replacing the entire device. This project was initially conceived by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens in an attempt to combat electronic waste.
The dextrous modular structure would also allow for “extreme personalisation” and strange, previously inconceivable applications. One such proposal, by New York based creative design agency Midnight Commercial, included a miniature aquarium hosted by the phone containing algae and tardigrades.
Construction of modular phone, image by Venturebeat
The tardigrade is a micro-animal known for its staggering ability to survive the vacuum of space, as well as radiation, freezing and total dehydration. This is achieved by a process called cryptobiosis- in which the tardigrade enters a slowed metabolic state, retracting its head and eight legs and entering a “deep state of suspended animation that closely resembles death.” A recent mapping of the tardigrade genome showed that one-sixth or 17.5 percent of its DNA is from an unknown source. Tardigrades size up to about half a millimeter, making the perfect aquarium accompaniment if fitted with a suitable microscope.