The concept comprises seven components in all: an air quality sensor, a CO2 monitor, a light sensor, an EKG node that measures heart activity, a glucometer for glucose tracking, a breathalyzer, and a “soul” module. (It’s anyone’s guess what that last one will do—Lapka hasn’t supplied any details.) The idea is to use Ara’s modular platform to expand beyond traditional smartphone functionality—and the traditional aesthetic of diagnostic devices. With Lapka, a Project Ara device could become a mobile doctor’s office, a meteorology station, or a lab technician’s assistant. “Our idea is to create and establish a health care brand,” says Vadik Marmeladov, creative director at Lapka. “We think style is super important. It’s the only way people will use medical devices at their own will."
The Project Ara vision is one where gadgets become increasingly personal. It takes customization beyond changing your lock screen or switching up your case. Lapka’s work shows a different side of Ara’s potential, one where fashion and technology coexist. “All these companies like Zara, H&M, who collaborate with Margiela or Alexander Wang, they create this limited edition that can be sold globally,” Marmeladov says. “This could also work in the tech industry. Lapka could be the high-end fashion brand, where we work with Google to create these because Google is so big that they can’t make the product this brave or colorful. So they can use boutique brands like ours to come up with these ideas.”
These modules aren’t meant for everyone, but that would be the point. They’re designed for highly specific use cases and tastes. They hint at a future in which modular gadgets don’t just change the face of smartphones, but perhaps medical devices, scientific instruments, and educational tools, too.