Modular everything

Modular design, or “modularity in design”, is a design approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules or skids, that can be independently created and then used in different systems. It is not a new concept and has been used by product designers since the longest of times. It has also been used in programming. Modular design offers several benefits over regular design:
  • Customization to unique consumer needs
  • Upgrading only the parts that require it
  • Waste minimization by avoiding obsolescence
  • Recycling of worn parts
  • Simultaneous engineering (aka concurrent engineering) of separate modules
What’s new is letting the end users manipulate the modules to their own needs. You can do this with Lego toys, but for consumer products such as phones, buildings, shoes and watches, it’s a completely new world. Here’s a list of such things that you will find in modular design:
The modular phones market fizzled out due to a number of challenges:
  • Battery power optimization
  • Testing and certification process of individual components
  • Durability/structural integrity of individual components
  • Expensive modules
  • Third party module compatibility

Every product will have its own challenges. Unlike modular phones, Mime et moi was a successful campaign on Kickstarter. 139 backers pledged € 19,412 to help realize this project. I’m excited to see future product designs overcoming the challenges.

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