It is common knowledge that when it comes to smartphone sales, a majority of the cost is taken up by the assembly process itself.
While it is easier to manufacture different parts, the act of combining them to make a functioning smartphone is the real time and energy consuming task.
To take care of this task, while still keeping their costs to a minimum, most smartphone manufacturers either outsource the job to countries with cheap labor, or buy expensive customized robots that do the task for them.
This creates a big problem as many people start to feel resentment over the perception that people abroad are suddenly taking away their jobs.
Not to mention that, while the thought of working with robots seems like a good proposition, one needs to remember that the robots in question aren’t cute or cuddly like the Asus Zenbo, instead are more soulless and efficient.
In addition, these robots also require extensive maintenance and repairs, which in itself is a big cost to worry about, even if you factor in the increased efficiency.
But since there aren’t any viable alternates, these are the options that the manufacturers have to pick from, and hope that their profits outweigh any potential issues.
Thankfully for them, researchers at MIT’s Self Assembly Lab have been developing a new way of assembling smartphones that will make the entire process as simple as loading a washing machine.
What we are talking about is a project that aims to build a new generation of smartphones that can assemble themselves, without any outside intervention.
These smartphones are built up of different parts, just like any regular smartphone. These parts are then loaded into a tumbler that rotates just like a washing machine.
Only, instead of clothes being washing, these parts start bumping into each other until they start sticking together thanks to corresponding magnets built into them.
The key is to make sure the speed is enough for the part to fuse together easily, but not enough to do any damage to them in the process.
Depending on the speed and size of the parts, the process should only take a few minutes, thus reducing both the cost and time of assembling a smartphone.
The team is currently working on tweaking the process, so that it can work with various other types of devices. As you can see, this will definitely have a big impact on how we manufacture electronics, with the potential to cheapen the electronics themselves.