I recently found this video which shows an old army Jeep getting disassembled, reassembled, and driven off-site in just under four minutes. this is certainly not a new video, but as of a few days ago, I had never seen it. nevertheless, it has caused me to see some connections in how things are made.
This Willy Jeep is an icon of classic America. made famous for its use in the battlefields of WW2, the Willys MB marked not only the start of the Jeep auto-line, but a serious leap forward for simplicity in American innovation. as this video proves, one of the most remarkable things about this vehicle was how easy it was to assemble and disassemble. some may be wondering why this would be a necessary and useful trait for a vehicle to have; after all, most people probably aren’t planning to disassemble their cars on the average weekend. but this was actually an incredibly sought after feature! the reason being: WAR. in ww2, the stage which the Jeep was meant for, the fighting would often cause the cars to take light damage, or in some cases, be nearly destroyed. however, since the Jeep was so well suited for disassembly, 10 broken jeeps could potentially be recycled into four or five fully functional vehicles! and since the Jeeps were so easy to take apart, this could be done on-site.
this idea of simplicity and ingenuity is not commonly seen anymore; especially in the tech world. But this may not be the case much longer. Take Google’s Project Ara for example. Though this project was originally intended to help people in third-world countries obtain smartphones, certain key components and stylistic design elements have captured the attention of western shoppers (including myself).
One of the blatantly noticeable differences between Ara and just about every other smartphone is the adaptable and interchangeable components. If my understanding is correct, one could replace or even upgrade parts of the phone, as opposed to buying a new one. This will greatly decrease the cost of having a phone and will create more competition in the market of phone companies. Additionally, the concept of allowing people to customize the appearance of their phone is another incredibly cool concept behind Ara.
So let’s go back to the big picture; how does Ara relate to the Willys Jeep? The answer: simplicity. Both pieces of technology were brought to fruition by american ingenuity, and both aspire to be as simply functioning as possible. The Jeep aimed to be easily disassembled into all of it’s parts; it accomplished that. Project Ara aims to do this as well and additionally reduce the smartphone down to it’s most basic components.
I believe that Project Ara, much like the Willys Jeep, has the potential to make a big splash in it’s industry, and I hope (partly for my own benefit) that these smartphones are available soon.