Samsung, the world’s largest handset producer has announced a reuse program that will allow customers to repurpose their old mobile devices. Designed and executed by Samsung’s C-Lab, an engineering team dedicated to creative projects, the program is an initiative to breathe new life into older Galaxy smartphones that, despite their age, are still relatively capable computational machines.
Currently, Samsung has set up a placeholder GitHub site that contains information and promotional videos. The site goes in depth of how the upcycling process will unfold. The project will allow users to download software that fully removes Android and opens the devices up to other forms of software that users can create and upload themselves. From there, users can browse a wide variety of “homebrew” software and projects that will allow the devices to serve specific functions. Users will be able to interact with the device’s hardware, e.g. the display, Wi-Fi, microphone, biometric sensor, loudspeaker, Bluetooth or cameras.
In the promotional video posted by Samsung, a user downloaded fish monitoring software to an old Galaxy S3 and used the device to monitor the PH balance and heat of their fish tank, with sensors purchased on the same site. It even allowed the pet owner to take pictures of their fish and turn the heat lamp on and off. Another project shows 40 repurposed Galaxy S5 devices constructed as a Bitcoin mining rig and old Galaxy S3 devices loaded with facial recognition software to guard the entrance of a house in the form of an owl.
Through the project, Samsung aims to provide environmentally responsible ways for old Galaxy mobile phones to find more value than being dust-catchers that lay forgotten in desk drawers.
Sign up here, on the Samsung Galaxy Upcycle GitHub to stay up to date with the project’s movement and announcements.