New Project Ara video highlights customization, modular functionality

The Project Ara team have released a new video, showing a bit of their progress with getting the modular smartphone concept up and running. In it we find the team's use of magnets to hold components in place, and even get a glimpse as to the size and variety we might find with the modules we use for Ara.

Google is using electro-permanent magnets to attach modules, which provide a sense of security as well as ease of use. The magnets keep the modules in place, but also allow for them to be removed as needed. The science behind electro-permaent magnets is that there is both a electromagnet and a permanent magnet. The electromagnet can change the magnetization effect of the permanent one, which is how the module is held securely while still being, well, modular.

The individual modules are also shown, and while they're little more than 3D printed blocks at this point, they do give a glimpse at the personalization style we may get with the device itself. Pictures of cats, as well as textured blocks, show that the device is quite a bit more than a make-it-yourself phone — we'll get to make it our own, too.

The overriding scope of this is that Google and Project Ara are still a long way from retail. The early stage development is evident throughout, and the team isn't shy about highlighting their hiccups as much as their success.