MAKERPhone lets you build your own phone with customized apps, games, and programs. It doesn’t look as sleek as a normal smartphone, but at least it won’t break the bank. (Photo via MAKERPhone)


I like the idea this, but is it a little much?


Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s hard to imagine life without your phone. The small device helps us with daily tasks and helps us pass the time. But as newer, better phones come out, the price goes up. What if you could make your own phone? The MAKERPhone lets you do just that. Currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, this kit lets anyone with the drive, patience, and right tools build their own smartphone from the ground up.


The new kit builds off the previously successfully MAKERbuino, a Gameboy like handheld console that ran on the Arduino computer platform. It comes with everything you need to build your own phone and customize it however you want. You can code your own apps and games or download and run existing software. And unlike other maker kits where you simply stack components, this one actually lets you build your phone with a few simple tools.


While you’ll need to have some soldering irons and screwdrivers on hand, the kit comes with everything else you need to start building: a full-color LCD screen with a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels, the MAKERPhone circuit board that connects all the components together, casing made out of sheets of acrylic that protect the innards, a GSM module responsible for texting and talking on the phone, and sound and amplifier modules. There’s even a stick-on-antenna allowing the phone to connect to a network to make calls or send text messages.


Aside from learning how to build the phone, the kit also teaches you the basics of Python, Scratch, and Arduino. And while the building process may come naturally to experienced makers, the kit is designed to be easy enough for an 11-year-old to handle. So, even if you know nothing about programming or computers, the step by step guide will be able to help you along the way.


Right now, you can get the base MAKERPhone kit for only $94, but if you pledge $119 you’ll get the kit and a tool set that gives you everything you need for assembly: USB soldering iron, a soldering iron stand, USB power brick, screwdriver, nose pliers, and diagonal cutter pliers. Considering the campaign is well past its $15,000 goal with less than a month to go, it seems people are ready to get their hands dirty and make their own phones.


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