Project Ara dscout featured snippet

Today’s featured snippet is from 33-year-old Christian from Denmark:


How thick is your phone?
0.9 cm The size is very similar to the z1 to accommodate a variety of modules

How long is your phone?
14.7 cm

How wide is your phone?
7.35 cm

What material did you use to build most of your phone?
Glossy photo paper

Which modules did you create for your phone?
Camera, battery, USB,WiFi, additional storage, speaker, bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer

What other modules did you add? 
Standard modules Electronic bug detector Geiger counter Plastic explosive + detonator Remote control for BMW or Google driverless car Night vision monocular Mini dart gun module Satellite phone + antenna SDXC SIM Micro usb Extra modules Tails module modified for secure, private and anonymous communication Taser Mini flame thrower Aerosol (pick your own chemicals) Some of the ideas have been shown in various movies, or already exist. Whats new is assembling all of the ideas in a modular phone.

If you want to join dscout and help us make the world’s first fully modular smartphone visit

Insights and Inspiration

As we begin Mission 4, the Project Ara team wanted to share with you some of the insights and inspiration we’ve gotten from all of our scouts. We’ll begin with Mission 1, which overwhelmed us beyond expectations. As this experiment in global, open, online design unfolds, we’ll share back what we’re learning after each mission (we’ll be quicker moving forward :).

Let’s start with a few numbers:

  • within the first 24 hours of announcing Project Ara, 40,000+ scouts signed up to participate in the Project Ara Research Scout project

  • almost 3 months later, we’re still getting a few dozen sign-ups each day

  • Mission 1 had 18,097 scouts who submitted 41,567 snippets. The picture above is a collage of the scout profile images to inspire the team!

  • Scouts come from at least 111 countries (and these are just from those that entered their country in the profile - I suspect we have closer to 200 countries represented). The map below shows the snippets we received in the first 72 hours.

  • well over 25% of scouts have Apple devices - very cool to have everybody in the mix!

Mission 1 invited people to share their first impressions, and we got a little bit of everything. Most of the impressions were around customization, module possibilities, and just pure excitement. Here are some of our favorite snippet titles:

  • each phone one of a kind

  • endless possibilities

  • innovation above profitability

  • user inspired

  • the 4ever phone

  • second chances

  • open community

  • a brand I grow with

  • the best of everyone

  • complexity into simplicity

  • as unique as me

A few things stood out to us. First, a lot of scouts explored how a modular phone might support the close relationships in their life: such as a couple or a household swapping and sharing modules. Here’s an example:

“When making something your personal brand is not enough, make it even more personal by coupling parts together. With your love or your best friend or your grandma. So parts belong as you belong in your family.”

The second thing that surprised us is how many scouts talked about how energizing it was to be part of the conversation. We called this category of snippets “Moto+Me”, and the contributions here encourage us to continue with our open design approach. Here’s an example from Mark in the UK:

"Open, user driven, forward thinking community. The first peer to peer hardware community. Able to easily interact and give/get support from developers."

Third, Project Ara has captured the imagination of the world’s youth. Scouts range in age from 13-73, but the largest group of participants are in their 20s and the next are in their teens. Each snippet was ranked on a level of excitement from 1 - 7. What was really interesting is that while the average interest level steadily declined with age, it shot up to the highest levels for those over 70. Teens and our most senior scouts are clearly our most enthusiastic participants.

Fourth, while the overall tone of participants was optimistic, there were a few key questions and concerns that we saw repeatedly. As we begin to develop and share the technical details of the project, we’ll address each of these questions:

  • Will the pieces easily break apart if dropped?

  • How easy is it to take the modules out and fit in new ones?

  • Will there be enough space for all the modules I want?

  • Won’t this feel bulkier than the standard phone? Will it look good?

  • Is there a way to lock down the parts so they don’t “walk away”?

  • Will I need to upgrade the main board every few years?

  • Will my phone be water proof despite its modular design?

What we’ve seen so far has only solidified our belief that the best kinds of innovation come not from closed doors, but from an open collaboration that engages everyone in the process of thoughtful design. And while we can never hope to return as much inspiration as we’re getting from all of scouts, we’ll continue to share back some of the insight from their participation.

A sincere thanks from the entire team.

// daniel

Daniel Makoski // Creative Director // @mak0ski

Advanced Technologies & Projects (ATAP) // Motorola - a Google company // @MAKEwithMOTO

P.S. You can always reach us at for anything related to dscout, or @mak0ski for anything else.

ATAP at Sundance

ATAP is landing at Sundance Film Festival with Regina Dugan, celebrated creatives, and a sneak peek at the upcoming Spotlight Story. On January 17th, the Moto X Lounge at Park City Live will play host to the latest Story’s debut, along with panel-ready creators, Jan Pinkava and Glen Keane. We can’t wait to show the world the latest from our band of Spotlight pirates. 

Welcoming Ivan Poupyrev

Today we welcome Ivan Poupyrev to the ATAP team. Ivan is number 14 on Fast Company’s 2013 list of most creative people. That’s right between Ken Lerner and Ai Weiwie. Not bad company. In the early 90s at Sony Ivan invented the first tactile feedback touchscreens. At Disney he invented novel sensing technology called Touche, which created the ability to make any object interactive. Including living plants. And recently, Fast Company dubbed Ivan as as one of the world’s greatest interaction designers. Needless to say, we’re excited to see what we’ll make together. Check out more of Ivan’s R&D portfolio at

Project Ara dscout featured snippet

Today’s featured snippet from dscout mission 3 is by 27-year-old Mikhael from Russia.

We love the use of organic materials and the slidable modules:

How thick is your phone? 
8.9 cm

How long is your phone? 
14.0 cm

How wide is your phone? 
6.9 cm

What material did you use to build most of your phone?
bendable plastic

Which modules did you create for your phone? 
camera, battery, WiFi, additional storage, speaker

What other modules did you add? 
Biometric (finger scanner), 3d-scanner.

If you want to join dscout and help us make the world’s first fully modular smartphone visit


It’s 2014. The world is a year older. But ATAP is still pretty young. We’ve been around for less than two years. But we work quickly. We work with big ideas. And we work them hard to find out if they’re going to make an impact.

As you may know, our Technical Program Leads are hired for only two years. In that time, they need to assemble a team. Do all their R&D. Create prototypes. Release Alpha and Beta versions. Dogfood these. And, finally, present a product with a plan to manufacture it at scale. This year, we’ll reach that second birthday.

You’ve met a couple of our projects already: MAKEwithMOTO, Ara, Spotlight Stories, Skip. But there is plenty more to come in 2014. Over the next year we’re going to introduce you to some of our team, invite you to explore our work, share our philosophy for innovation and finally introduce some really kickass products. So be excited for 2014. We certainly are.

Disney legend Glen Keane joins Spotlight Stories


To animate means to bring to life

And Glen Keane’s work seems larger than life. As the creator and animator of beloved Disney characters such as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and Tarzan, Glen has drawn more than figures on a screen. He has made the stories and characters of our childhoods. He gave us imaginary friends, admired heroines, misfits in search of understanding, and at least a Halloween costume or two. 

We’re excited to announce that Glen—the artist behind so many classics—is working with us to push the future of animation with an original Spotlight Story. 


Expected to release the middle of 2014, in this third Spotlight Story, Glen is going back to the drawing board. Literally. Together with the engineers who unlocked the graphics technology that made our first Spotlight Story, Windy Day, possible on the Moto X, we’re pushing new edges. The raw emotion of the hand-drawn line brought to life in our technological world. And yours. 
What will happen when a master animator of the big screen jumps to an innovative, mobile canvas? We’re excited to see.

- Baback Elmieh, Technical Program Lead, Spotlight Stories

(Source: googlespotlightstories)

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