Tim Habersack

Where I put my things..

MHS - Module Handheld System

Jul 19th 2019

Design. It is not my strong suit, but I can tell when I do not like a design. I happened to be looking at old handheld things because of this post, and I was reminded of design ideals before the Jony Ive Age. Nothing against it, I can get why it appeals to people, but it doesn't appeal to me.

I like design that is more like this:

It feels more substantial and rugged in my hand. If I drop it, it won't instantly shatter. It feels durable. Modern smartphones and handheld gaming devices mostly feel fragile to me. A literal feeling, a response from holding a thing that is basically just a big screen.

I started thinking about designs I like, about user experiences I've found the most durable and 'good' feeling. (Again, totally subjective, but I think I am not alone in this sentiment)

This design really has stood the test of time:

It is rugged. You are using it in your hands and it feels solid. It has edges! You can touch parts and not smudge a screen. Also, it fits in this protective case that also lets you flip it around into a very robust device protection system.

Ok so I like that kind of design, how does that translate?

Into the header image!

Think a TI-86 calculator, but cut into pieces (modules). These modules snap together based on what you want to use, and you slide it into the sturdy case. When you're not using it, pull your stack of modules out, flip it around, and you've got a very well protected device.

I was thinking USB-C (or maybe just USB, or something else) is the bit that snaps them all together. There would also be kind of "click-in" spots on every module so when you push it together it clicks and keeps it connected pretty well. But then, putting the stack into the case gives it that very sturdy structure.

The amount of modules that could be designed for this are endless. A gamepad, touchpad, module that is just a bunch of easy access ports to make this a decent desktop, dedicated big battery module, a screen/cpu that has e-ink, etc.

This could even be a good design for a open-source phone.

The idea is, the screen / CPU module is the 'main' part of the device. You can have it on, and hot swap / change the modules you've got plugged into the stack. Have a break? Cool, pull out your device, swap in the gamepad and do some gaming.

I am not certain of all the technical hurdles, but I think is this doable with today's technology. I would use this every day.

I guess my question is, does this appeal to anyone else?