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The U.S. Military Is Very Interested In Google’s Project Ara

by Brandon Russell | August 18, 2014August 18, 2014 10:00 pm PST

We’ve already explored the benefits of Google’s modular phone from a consumer perspective, but what about the potential applications for business, emergency response and even the military? That’s what Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integration Systems (ISIS) seems to wondering as well.

Under the guidance of former DARPA program manager Janos Sztipanovits, Gizmodo writer Adam Clark Estes discovered that ISIS is currently exploring ways to take advantage of the project’s modular nature. Unsurprisingly, the thing ISIS finds most attractive is the fact that you can swap parts out at will—change the battery, camera, processor and more. You can even swap out critical information with superior officers by handing over your storage.

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Project Ara: 5 Benefits to Google’s Modular Smartphone

Google hosted its first Project Ara developers conference last week, where it finally revealed more detailed information on its modular smartphone project. Ara is currently in the hands of the firm’s Advanced Technologies and Products (ATAP) team, who have been tasked with turning an idea into a real, physical product that Google hopes to sell to the entire world at various price points as early as January 2015.

“The whole idea behind Ara is that you’re able to add specialized hardware to the phone,” said ISIS team member, Ted Bapty. “I think you could think of a lot of things that the military would do that would require extra hardware: geiger counters, chemical sensors… just a wide range of applications.”

Existing phone technology is obviously advanced enough to meet the needs of government officials, but it is a different story out on the battlefield. Having extra Ara parts could open up an entire realm of possibilities, giving soldiers the flexibility to adapt to different situations as necessary.

The goal right now is for ISIS to ensure a project like Ara can deliver a consistent experience when swapping out modules. But that also brings up another issue: what if these important parts are lost? Food for thought. The goal right now, though, is to see if and how Ara can benefit users.

Project Ara is still more of an idea than anything, but some of the brightest minds are on the case. It seems like an outrageous idea being able to hot swap parts at will. But it’s incredibly compelling to the U.S. military, and could wind up altering how we communicate in the future.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...