Motorola, 3D Systems partner to create customized phones

One of the ways Motorola, which was acquired by Google last year, is attempting to set itself apart in the crowded mobile marketplace is by giving users an unprecedented ability to customize their phones, and they’re doing it with a technology tailor made for highly custom manufacturing: 3-D printing.

3D Systems, a leader in the 3-D printing market, reported today that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with the company to create a continuous, high-speed 3-D printing production platform and fulfillment system. 3D Systems says the system will combine both additive and subtractive manufacturing processes for the initiative, known as Project Ara.

“With Project Ara, we asked the question, ‘How do we bring the benefits of customization and an open hardware ecosystem to 6 billion people?’ That is our driving application. It requires technical advances in areas such as material strength and printing with conductive inks for antennas. And those advances must support production-level speeds and volumes, which is a natural partnership with 3D Systems,” Regina Dugan, head of Motorola’s Advanced Technology & Projects group, said in a statement.

Pending successful completion of the development phase of the production platform, 3D Systems is expected to manufacture Ara smartphone enclosures and modules as Motorola’s exclusive fulfillment partner. The companies previously partnered on a series of “make-a-thons” at engineering and design schools intended to showcase the benefits of an open hardware ecosystem.

[ photo courtesy of 3D Systems ]