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Puzzlecluster lets you recycle old phone parts to improve your computer

If the rumours are true, then modular devices like Project Ara and the PuzzlePhone could well be the next big thing and it’s easy to see why; the idea of being able to upgrade elements of your device without having to chuck the whole thing out is massively appealing.

That’s all well and good, but what happens to old phone modules when you upgrade or replace them? Will there be a landfill overflowing with defunct processor pieces and old camera bits?

Circular Devices, the company behind PuzzlePhone, has come up with a clever use for your defunct phone bits. The idea, or concept at the moment, is PuzzleCluster – a scalable supercomputer powered by outdated phone modules.

The idea is that by combining several processor modules, the PuzzleCluster would draw the cumulative power, which makes it more powerful while also recycling your old tech. The PuzzleCluster concept shows one small unit which is able to receive five processor modules, but it expands to show several of those units daisy-chained together to create a much bigger and more powerful machine.

The project is very much still at the embryonic stage right now, but Circular Devices reckons the PuzzleCluster could be useful in many ways. One representative of the company remarked:  “applications can range from research and data analysis, to rendering farms and in-house cloud services, as well as any other case that requires parallel computing.” And that would include many potential uses, including medical and environmental study.

Circular Devices is looking to recycle in as many ways as it can, with the concept also featuring a potential for battery modules to be inserted, alongside a traditional power supply, making the PuzzleCluster more versatile.

Obviously, the success of the idea very much depends on the success of the PuzzlePhone itself, otherwise there won’t actually be any unwanted modules to utilise, but it’s really refreshing to see companies considering the future, rather than blindly setting us on the never-ending conveyor belt of upgrades.


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