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An idea of mine: Modulara

This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Peter Mierau 11 months ago.

N.W.B. n-w-b

An idea of mine: Modulara

05/10/2015 at 11:51

Here is something i posted on the original phonebloks.com forum.

Orginal forum post on Phonebloks.com:
“So I was thinking about a solution for the problem of the different OS’es everybody wants. Maybe this is where we can be inspired by the PC. Before the OS of a PC loads you first get to the BIOS or UEFI. This looks at the hardware and loads everything and then detects the OS.
For Phonebloks we can call this Basic Phoneblok Internal Operating System or BPIOS. BPIOS not only checks for if the hardware is there but also if the drivers of the hardware are there. This way it’s I think it’s possible to have multiple OS’es to fit the Phonebloks phones.
This is I have in mind for the proces BPIOS:
– User starts phone.
– BPIOS starts
– BPIOS does the POST check to see if everything that is needed is in place. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-on_self-test)
– BPIOS detect the Operating System that is installed or that is on an OS Block.
– BPIOS looks if the correct drivers are available if not tries to get the drivers or use the standard BPIOS driver.
– If everything is clear and good to go the OS bootloader on the OS Block.
The BPIOS is planted on a chip in the Skeleton/Motherboard of the Phoneblok. That way it’s always present and is excuted.
Since I’m not that great of a hardware builder or software programmer. I have no clue how I could make this happen or if this is even possible for a phone.
EDIT: I renamed the post and changed the idea a bit.

The idea behind Phonebloks is that the phone should be modular in order to reduce E-waste. I personally find this to be a great idea. If you can do this to you PC and most laptops why not you phone and tablet. The idea is great but the problem is that modularity gives a host of problems.
Which Bloks are installed? Which OS should be installed? How do I get the correct drivers? Are the correct drivers for that Blok installed? How do I connect random Bloks on a grid without pre-determent places?
All problems that needed to be solved before you even could come close to a modular phone. So I started brainstorming on how to fix this problem. I thought I found the solution to the problem with a thing I called BPIOS or Basic PhoneBloks Internal Operation System. This idea was based off the PC BIOS or UEFI and is still very rough. I posted it on the forms and good some good response and even greater feedback. I went on to help a few guys on what was then called Project Andalus which was basicly going to be the Bloks OS everybody wanted. This project sadly died a sillent death and a few months went by since I looked on the forums. When I looked on the forums again I was pleasantly surprised to see that people liked my idea and gave me more constructive feedback and ideas to solve some problems. I gave it some though and have come to the conclusion that I should post the ideas that have come to my mind.

That is why I want to announce here for all of you guys, Project Modulara. This project is to search for a good solution for the follow problem:

Who can I use the Operating System I want, without the hassle of installing all kinds random software?

Project Modulara contains 2 parts:

The MIOS or Modular phone Internal Operating System.
The Modulara Endoskeleton or Skelet.

In this post I will explain the MIOS. For the Modulara Endoskeleton visit the post in the hardware section of the forums.

MIOS is the software part of project Modulara. MIOS stands for Modular phone Internal Operating System. It’s based on the BIOS of a PC since the PC is a modular piece of hardware. Just like the BIOS, MIOS just is for the booting part of the operation. Below a list of the steps the MIOS goes through while running.

• User starts up phone.
• MIOS starts.
• MIOS does the POST check. The MIOS POST checks in 2 parts:
◦ Part 1 checks if the bare esential hardware plus their drivers are there: CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, screen and controls. If one or more of those items isn’t responding then it writes every error to a text file and then shuts off again with a blinking red led.
◦ If it is succesfull it goes on to part 2. In this POST Check it looks at the other Bloks. It identifies them and also checks if the Blok works. If this isn’t the case the MIOS will shut off the Blok and tell this to the OS. Then it continuaties to the next step.
• OS Bootloader is started.

And that is pretty much all the software side of project Modulara. It isn’t a complete OS but more a BIOS for modular phones to make OS development for other OSes more simple and realize the dream of so many Phonebloks community members to have multiple OSes installed. The OS can simply be installed on the storage that is added by user.

In this post I will explain the Modulara Endoskeleton. For the MIOS part visit the software section of this forum.

The Modulara Endoskeleton exsists of 2 parts. The first part is the Skelet. This is where the Bloks will be fitted on. Looks like the original Phonebloks idea. At the bottom there is a little slide thingy that slides out. This lets you unlock or lock the pins of the Bloks.

The second part are the chips. There are multiple chips. They are connected via cables and a fixed to the board with watch screws. This way the user can replace the chips them self. This all in the spirit of Phonebloks.

The Skelet contains a motherboard on which all the other chips are mounted. On the motherboard there is also a micro usb port for charging and data transfer. At the moment I’m still sticking with the micro usb but I think there will also be a version with a usb C-type port since this is the port that will replace the micro usb one.
It gets it’s brainpower from the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. This contains the brains and the memory of the phone. Although 4gb is not very big for a phone these days I think it’s enough for the MIOS. We can apply the partition system of the pc here. The Compute Module or CM has a SODIUMN slot at the left of the motherboard.
The other chip is a SIM chip. This is the chip that houses the SIM card and connects to the cellular network. It has a small antenna but the idea is that this can be expanded via a Blok if you want more range.”

So what do you guys think?

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15/11/2015 at 14:23

It sounds great!
Quite some time since you posted this, have you thought about it more/gotten any further?

16/11/2015 at 10:17

Haven’t really worked on it since i’m not an expert on hardware nor on the software and well, you’re the only one who is interested so….

If you have some ideas, tell me!

11/12/2015 at 19:37

Well, I’m no engineer, just your common communications guy.
Would love to see someone in the community ponder around this.

12/01/2016 at 20:04

I think they are to busy doing other stuff :P. But I have another interesting idea. Could use some feedback on that.

19/11/2016 at 10:19

this is a great idea for the modular phones.
this can be a revolutionary thing in the industry.

02/07/2017 at 06:02

I really like this idea and I’m going to try and build a basic simulator in java.

Question. How would the blocks be configured?

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