Dec 22, 2015 | By Benedict

Fairphone, the Netherlands based social enterprise and technology company, recently released its latest smartphone, the Fairphone 2. The company has now teamed up with designer Alan Nguyen to produce a range of 3D printed wooden accessories for the device.

Smartphones are everywhere, and it’s already difficult to imagine a world without internet-enabled mobile devices. By March 2014, over 500 million iPhones had been sold worldwide, with handsets finding their way into younger (and older) hands than ever before, and smartphone retailers delving into previously untapped global markets.

In spite of their ubiquity, few smartphones users truly understand the process behind the production of their device. The iPhone, for example, has a long and complex supply chain, with most of its components produced in China at an extremely low cost. The problem with these long and snaking supply chains is their relative opacity. From tin mining, to design, to production of components, nobody is quite sure if miners, designers and factory workers are getting a fair deal from the mass production of these incredibly valuable products.

The philosophy behind Fairphone is to bring the technology supply chain to the surface, making it transparent and, above all, fair. The company’s goal is to create ethical yet functional products which have a positive impact for miners, designers and workers, and to ultimately change the way in which products are made and evaluated.

This week saw the release of the Fairphone 2, which runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and features a 5 inch, Full HD LCD screen, dual SIM, 4G and a Qualcomm quad core processor. In spite of its good intentions, the smartphone is clearly no charity chase, boasting impressive technical specs to rival its competitors.

To provide customers with a superior smartphone experience, the company has now turned to 3D printing to produce a pair of accessories for the new device. Collaborating with designer Alan Nyguyen, Fairphone have created a 3D printed nightstand and 3D printed amplifier, both of which use ColorFabb woodFill 3D printing filament, a material made from recycled wood fibers. The result is a futuristic yet natural aesthetic, with both products performing simple yet useful functions.

The 3D printed Fairphone 2 Nightstand functions as a horizontal resting spot for the smartphone during the twilight hours. The handset fits snugly between two slots in the 3D printed wood, where it can be charged and used as a gently illuminated clock.

The 3D printed Fairphone 2 Amplifier is a unique piece of design, which uses natural acoustics rather than external speakers to amplify the smartphone’s built-in speaker. Like an acoustic guitar, its hollow body amplifies the modest sounds of the phone to produce an impressively resonant sound.

Both 3D printed accessories are being produced on-demand by 3DHubs. This means that each product is made to order, reducing any potential wastage involved in transport costs and overproduction. Both products are 3D printed from a unique material made from recycled wood fibers and bioplastic PLA. In addition to these two new products, 3DHubs also offer a range of 3D printed cases for the Fairphone 1 (€18).

The 3D printed Nightstand and Amplifier are only available in Europe, and cost €19.50 and €26.50 respectively. The Fairphone 2 retails at €529.38.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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