British start-up OwnFone launches Kickstarter campaign that offers users the chance to 3D print their own cellphone - and even draw its design by hand. Jim Drury reports.
Ever wanted a truly unique cellphone handset?....well now you can have one, thanks to London start-up OwnFone. Its new PrintFone Kit allows you to print a 2D or 3D handset at home, says inventor Tom Sunderland. SOUNDBITE (English) OWNFONE INVENTOR AND FOUNDER, TOM SUNDERLAND, SAYING: "It's a developer's kit that enables someone to print their own phone at home, either on a standard inkjet printer or a 3D printer. You get the phone components that you need to do that, the software, and really it gives people total freedom to create whatever they want." After printing the phone's Skin on an inkjet printer, users simply attach it to the front and back of a seed handset. Once programmed via USB with OwnFone's FoneBuilder App, it's a working cell phone. Users with 3D printers can then print a shell around the phone to change its shape and size. OwnFone say an endless variety of designs can be printed. Users can also visit OwnFone's London store to have a phone made while they wait. And to add an even more personal touch, OwnFone's DrawFone tool allows users to draw their own handset. SOUNDBITE (English) OWNFONE INVENTOR AND FOUNDER, TOM SUNDERLAND, SAYING: "So simply what you do is draw your phone. So here's the app, you choose a four button image phone and draw whatever you want on it.......Once you've finished we then take your design and we print it for you straight away and then you walk out with the phone that you've just drawn that is ready to use." Sunderland says OwnFone aims not to replace the smartphone, but to complement it. The phones are designed primarily for talking and their ultra-simple, personalised handset design could prove popular among children and the elderly. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched across Europe and the United States....OwnFone are sure it will draw huge interest.