Project Ara recently held its second dedicated developer’s conference and modular component development looks to be making strides outside of Google’s R&D department, as is the aim. The latest example comes from a collaboration between Sennheiser, a popular German audio company, and Phonebloks, an early player in the modular game that began collaborating with Project Ara back in 2013. Between them, the two have come up with a couple of neat modular component concepts for those who want a little more from their smartphone’s audio.
The first concept module, named “amphion”, was one of the most popular requests from the Phonebloks community. It is designed to deliver high quality audio capture and playback. Packed with an energy efficient class G amplifier and a low-noise microphone input path, Sennheiser reckons that its design not only meets the demands of the audiophile, but is also perfect for musicians or journalists looking to capture some high quality audio for use at a later date.
The module also houses a low latency digital signal processor, presumably to make use of Sennheiser’s customised EQ and other digital effects, as well as your phone’s usual playback tasks. The DSP is also user programmable, opening up the module to tweaking and experimentation by other developers.
The “proteus” audio block concept comes with two audio jacks for users to more easily share their musical finds with friends. Sennheiser suggests that this could have other interesting implications too, such as using two stereo jacks to connect up four microphone inputs for pin-point directional audio capture.
As Project Ara moves closer to a consumer release, we will hopefully see a few more unique and interesting ideas appear from various component designers. What do you think about Sennheiser’s modular concepts? Do you have any module ideas or wishes of your own?