With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, devices become obsolete much faster than ever before. Smartphones, tablets and computers are replaced and upgraded every couple of years and the replaced technology tends to serve no purpose other than a backup. However, Samsung's new "upcycling" initiative aims to give your old phones new life.
The company recently displayed a bitcoin mining rig made of 40 old Galaxy S5 devices, running a new operating system Samsung specifically developed for its new initiative. The machine was premiered, along with a bunch of other set-ups for old phones, at its recent developer's conference in San Francisco.
A Samsung engineering team, known as C-Lab, showed off old Galaxy devices and assorted tablets minus the Android OS, repurposed into a number of different objects. The team configured a Galaxy S3 to monitor a fish tank and programmed an old phone with facial recognition software to monitor the entrance of a house; in an inconspicuous owl disguise.
When asked about the bitcoin mining rig, Samsung declined to provide any detailed information, but a document from the developer's conference showed that eight Galaxy S5 smartphones are able to mine more efficiently than a standard desktop computer.
Upcycling is an excellent way to keep old devices functional but it can't happen without the support of the original manufacturer, so Samsung intends to release the software it used to unlock the phones and its plans for future projects online for free. You can find out more about it below:
The site will operate by allowing users to download software that removes Android and opens the devices up for other types of programming. From there, visitors browse a variety of homebrew software and projects. It will be an open platform, so anyone can make and upload their own software once it launches.
Support for legacy devices in the form of repurposing is practically unheard of in the technology sector. Apple is notorious for fighting to keep their intellectual property from any type of alteration. They've made it difficult over the years for users just to fix their own broken devices. In Apple's defense however, most manufacturers would rather people buy new products instead of fixing their old ones.
Samsung is looking at the possibilities of what their devices can do long term and hopes that with their upcycling initiative, they can maintain the value of their devices long-term. It would be nice to see older technology resurrected and put to good use, rather than causing pollution and unnecessary waste.
Let us know what you think about Samsung's newest initiative. Do you think there's potential for outdated technology to serve practical purposes for us in the present? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think.