Inside and outside of the DIT cell phone (via high-low tech)
Every so often MIT opens its doors to the general public and holds a sort of ‘open house,’ where people can view the latest works and lectures (312+ of them in 5 hours!) from every department. One of the more notable works of technology from the prestigious school centered around a do-it-yourself cellphone from the "high-low tech" group at the MIT Media Lab.
Designed by PhD student David Mellis, the DIY prototype phone features a custom circuit-board with 1.8 inch (160 X 128) TFT color display from Adafruit Industries. For cellular connectivity, the phone uses a SM5100B GSM module made by Sparkfun and can accept any SIM card from any GSM provider. The components are housed inside a laser-cut plywood and veneer case with flexors that enable the buttons to be pressed. Another notable feature on the phone is the giant coaxial antenna that’s needed to make and receive calls. This reminds me of the old box-like cell phones from the 80’s. For power, the phone relies on an every-day 9 volt battery over rechargeable lithium-ion batteries found in current smartphones. Sure the phone doesn’t have the app-packed super-powers of those found in current cellphones it’s still appealing for those who love DIY projects and costs around $150 US for the parts to build one.