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Inspired by Project Ara, a UK team wants your smartwatch to be modular too

So you have heard about the famed Project Ara, which proposes modular smartphones in the near future. Taking inspiration from this concept of an open hardware platform, a UK team has come up with its ‘Blocks’ concept. The idea is to bring modularity to smartwatches in the future as well.

The team behind Project Ara dreams of the day when we won’t have to get rid of our entire phone as smartphone specifications get upgraded every month, but we’ll rather be able to switch different internal component modules like bluetooth, GPS, battery, processor, camera etc. (attached to a base device) to upgraded ones.

Similar to Project Ara, Blocks will let users customize their smartwatch needs in order to better suit their lifestyles. It proposes that a smarwatch’s strap can contain multiple blocks (such as a heart rate monitor or GPS tracker) that can be swapped out, with each one capable of performing a specific task to get you the ultimate smartwatch experience.

Interestingly, the display can also be swapped out for e-ink, LED as well as touch displays. Some issues like how Blocks smartwatches would work as standalone devices (not requiring a connection to a smartphone) or how much battery life they would offer, still remain unaddressed.

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The Blocks team plans to start crowdfunding for the project in near future. TechCrunch quoted Blocks’ Serge Vasylechko as saying: “The current aim is to look at design issues around Blocks and make it comfortable and appealing to wear for the user. Once that is done we can move on to full prep towards a crowdfunding campaign which we plan to release in the near future. In the longer run, we aim to release the full product itself by mid 2015, with developer editions ready before that.”


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