There is a reason that makers and tinkerers love the Raspberry Pi so much. It lets them take something small and simple with infinite possibilities and build whatever they need or want. That freedom to customize a piece of technology to fit your needs exactly is pretty powerful.
That premise is what the makers of the RePhone are trying to bring to smartphones. The kit by makers Seeed just launched on Kickstarter a few days ago and has already far surpassed its fundraising goal. The modular open source phone kit lets users build any type of communication device they can imagine, not just a phone. With an array of add-on modules, the RePhone can become a device that accomplishes much more.
A basic entry pledge of $12 gets you the RePhone Core Module GSM + BLE, a tiny computer chip that the creators claim is the world’s smallest System-on-Chip (SOC) for wearables and Internet Of Things. It features communication protocols including GSM, GPRS and Bluetooth (4.0 and 2.1 Dual mode) and supports quad-band 850/900/1800/1900MHz for connecting to any global GSM network.
The core kit is the RePhone Kit Create which has the RePhone Core Module GSM + BLE, an audio module, a 1.54'' touchscreen, a 520 mAh battery and two Kraft Paper cut-outs that can be folded into a DIY case. The Kraft Paper is actually pretty durable and can be sewed, washed and drawn on.
With pledges up to $400 you can get increasingly more modules. You can add GPS, motion sensors, a camera and more and they all can be easily connected using pluggable FPC cables, although you can also use conductive thread or soldering.
The RePhone can be used to communicate with other people as a phone, but it can also be used as a connected device for communicating with and keeping tabs on objects (and living things) all around you like your pets and plants, toys, motorcycle helmets, bikes, robots, or even drones.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until October 29 and the creators have promised not to put the RePhone on the market until all donors have received their devices first, which should be by spring of 2016.