Captain’s Log – PuzzlePhone Episode 2: The Solid Process of Success

In the first post in the Captain’s Log I introduced PuzzlePhone’s partners involved in R&D. The journey from ideas on a cocktail napkin to an actual PuzzlePhone is full of epic moments built on a solid, steady, and mature industrial process.

Quite often the real work of the development process gets short shrift because it’s thought to be boring. For those involved in the process, of course, it isn’t boring at all. When you grow your own orchard, you know every detail matters, and good planning and method can make huge differences.

The Process

We use HCD (Human Centered Design) techniques to place the user at development’s focal center. Our multiphase and stage sprint process shepherds the concept from the initial idea through all technical and usability challenges to finally reach mass manufacturing.

At its core, PuzzlePhone places a strong emphasis on the reduction of environmental impact through our principle of modularity, whether it be modular design, modular manufacturing, or a modular product solution.

PuzzlePhone is being developed through four main phases: Scoping, Concept, Detailing, and Implementation to production. We wish to share the whole process with you as it happens. The following is a summary of the Scoping phase, completed during the Crowdfunding activity at the end of 2015.

Scoping phase

In the scoping phase we focused on key areas to properly understand users through focus group testing. This stage allowed us to evaluate the initial modular technological challenges from a user’s point of view.

We have highlighted the following key user groups for our initial development. Where do you fit in?

Direct Purchaser – consumers who desire a better alternative to the main industry players.
Indirect Purchaser – business users who purchase fleets of phones.
Open Source Advocates – our hacker/maker buddies and specialist developers.
We engaged directly with these groups and are investigating a variety of build options according to the recycling- and repair levels each group would like to have. At this stage we’re still open to a variety of levels of access for repair and replacement. We want to enable upgrades on both the macro and micro levels, from the replacement of individual components like camera and audio, to higher-level replacements of the Brain, Heart, or Spine.

Technical challenges highlighted

A lifecycle of up to ten years? What are our expectations surrounding this goal? Materials and physical parts can be designed with longevity in mind. This is a superior approach, we believe, than designing for the replacement of broken items. But can electronic components truly be expected to last ten years? This is where modularity comes into its own, enabling parts to be easily upgraded.

The connector design between modules is also paramount to the longevity of the product. We must ensure that this does not deteriorate with use – and this will form a large portion of our testing development. Watch this space!

Battery capacity is also another bugbear of the smart phone industry. We all want super slim products but expect to use them 24/7. What is a reasonable compromise in product size and battery life? This is a classic design challenge of form and function. Thankfully, our modular design enables several solutions within a single product: a slim profile battery capacity similar to an iPhone 6, with the ability to hot-swap on the go, or a double-decker mega battery twice the size with an additional 4mm thickness. You choose.

We are still working through selection of some key components, such as the chipset, screen, audio, antenna layout, which will guide the overall design. All of these building blocks have been placed into an initial configuration and this will be developed in more detail during the next stages of work.

The next stage will include a lot more detailed design around the antenna, audio, and assembly construction.

Follow this blog and join in the journey to design and manufacture the revolutionary PuzzlePhone in Europe. Would you like to be involved in future testing or give input? Just contact us.

We will keep you all updated in the web, the newsletter and trough our social media channels.

Alejandro Santacreu (CEO)
On behalf of the PuzzlePhone team
The PuzzlePhone!
Upgradeable, sustainable, incredible!

Stay in touch

Circular Devices Oy
c/o A Grid
PO BOX 13100
00076 Aalto

Copyright © 2015 Circular Devices Oy. All rights reserved.

This project has recieved funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research
and innovation programme under grant agreement No 680640 and 730308