Imagine if you could build your very own mobile phone
MAKERphone is an educational mobile phone that you assemble and code yourself.
It’s a kit, it’s fun, it’s simple… and we need your help to make it happen.
What can I do with it?
- A fully functional mobile phone that you can code yourself
- Games such as space invaders, pong, or snake
- Apps such as a custom media player that only plays cat videos
- Programs in Arduino
- Lines of code in Python
- Your first working piece of code in Scratch
- A custom case
- What a resistor does
- The basics of electronics
- How to solder
- How your smartphone works
- How to code
- Physical computing
- Arduino (which is based on C/C++)
Turning consumers into creators
Mobile phones are revolutionary. They’ve changed and shaped the life of a modern man like nothing else.
Everybody has one and daily activities without this tiny black “brick” are unthinkable for most of us.
Despite their presence little does an average person know what’s inside this magical device.
With MAKERphone we’re trying to show people that every machine you see was designed by a human being not different nor smarter than themselves.
MAKERphone is actually an educational device disguised in the shape of a mobile phone.
Our main goal is turning consumers into creators.
MAKERphone steps up the game
We’ve learned A LOT from manufacturing and shipping over 6000 MAKERbuino kits in the past year and here’s a short list of most notable changes and improvements that we’ve implemented in MAKERphone:
- A color screen
- Better microcontroller with our custom software
- Python programming language compatibility
- Scratch programming language compatibility
- Dedicated DAC and electronic volume controller for sound regulation and mp3 playback
- 8 individually programmable RGB LEDs for a lightshow in your palms
- Better PCB architecture for easier soldering
- New prettier box with a black touchy cut-out sponge (IMPORTANT!)
- The thing can now make calls, has a SIM card, and built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- RTC (real time clock) - MAKERphone now keeps time and wakes you up!
4G or not to 4G?
Every MAKERphone reward perk comes in two versions:
- Standard - which comes with a 2G GSM chipset (SIM800 chip)
- 4G variant with a 4G chipset (SIM7600 chip)
Why would you want a 4G version of MAKERphone?
There are mainly two reasons you might want a MAKERphone 4G:
1) Your carrier doesn’t support 2G, or might phase out 2G in the near future or your carrier doesn’t support 2G at all.
2G will remain available in most countries at least by early 2021 (and by 2025 in Europe).
2G was already shut down in Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore.
2) You want the phone to use cellular data connectivity (so, WiFi is not enough)
If you plan just on assembling the MAKERphone, using it for phone calls, text messages, playing music and connecting it to WiFi - you can probably just stick with the standard MAKERphone.
If not - you can just go ahead and adjust your perk!
How is MAKERphone 4G different?
MAKERphone 4G is a version of MAKERphone wih a 4G chipset (SIM7600) instead of a 2G GSM chipset (SIM800) that’s included on the standard MAKERphone.
LTE chipsets are still more expensive than regular chipsets.
The other aspects of MAKERphone will work similarly on both models.
MAKERphone teaches you about wires and chips (a.k.a. “hardware”)
MAKERphone is hardware.
MAKERphone is wires.
MAKERphone is chips.
MAKERphone is education.
MAKERphone runs on electricity and has the same components like your smartphone.
It comes in a kit form (not assembled) - you get a box with all the electronic components necessary for building your own fully working mobile phone.
You’ll need two things to build your MAKERphone:
1) some basic tools
2) passion and interest in technology
MAKERphone is FUN
We’re living in the 21st century when kids are not only playing Fortnite. They are building their own electronic devices in their garages #badass #supersmart
There’s internet, open-source code and wires you can buy on the internet. All knowledge is a few clicks away and you just need the willpower to start learning and doing something new!
Try building your own mobile phone, you'll see how much fun it is!
MAKERphone needs tools
MAKERphone teaches you REAL electronics, it’s not like those wanna-be Lego-like electronics kits.
Thus, you'll need some REAL tools and equipment for assembling your MAKERphone:
- A regular soldering iron (nothing super expensive)
- Some solder
- Diagonal cutter pliers
- A regular screwdriver
- A piece of insulating tape
If you're a maker, you probably already have these tools.
If you're a maker-to-be and still don't have these tools, don't worry as we've got you covered.
We've prepped a special version of the MAKERphone kit that already comes with the required tools.
Check out the rewards section (at the bottom of the listing) for more info about the available kit versions.
Who is this kit for?
Based on our experience, an 11-year-old kid should be able to assemble their own MAKERphone with a tiny bit of help from an adult.
Therefore, the estimated age group is 11+.
Estimated hardware build time: 7 hours.
Build time varies and depends on the skills of the person and if the person has ever soldered before.
Estimated play time: unlimited
Estimated software development and learning time: unlimited
Building the MAKERphone is just the beginning. After that you'll spend numerous hours creating your own games, apps, learning about software, and experimenting with hardware.
What's in the kit?
1) MAKERphone circuit board - the main board that connects all the components in a uniform device that can work as a mobile phone
2) MAKERphone casing - multiple sheets of acrylic cut with the power of lasers. They protect the innards and give MAKERphone this sleek look
3) 128*160 full color TFT LCD - for playing games, displaying phone numbers and everything in between
4) GSM module - a tiny module responsible for everything related to calling and texting other people
5) Main microcomputer module - a dual core processor with built-in Wi-Fi, BLE, and a charging circuit
6) Sound module - a board with a DAC (digital to analog converter) chip and a headphone jack for music playback (responsible for ringtones, alarms, game sound effects)
7) Amplifier module - makes loud buzzes, bleeps and bloops
8) Stick-on antenna - for superb phone signal (a.k.a. send text messages while in the bathroom)
9) A bag with other tiny electronic components such as pushbuttons and colored button caps with a 128MB SD card preloaded with games and apps included
What’s in the tools pack?
If you choose a perk with a tools pack included, you’ll get this neat wooden box filled with all the essential tools needed for MAKERphone assembly:
1) USB soldering iron (lightweight and portable, solder on the go!)
2) Metal soldering iron stand
3) USB cable for the soldering iron
5) USB power brick for powering your soldering iron
6) Some solder
7) Needle nose pliers
8) Diagonal cutter pliers
MAKERphone teaches you Python
Python Is Everywhere
Python is and has been for a while one of the world's most popular programming languages.
Every day, without realizing it, you probably use software that is written in Python and big companies use it to write all sorts of useful applications.
Python is easy to learn, intuitive, pleasing to the eye and comes with a plethora of libraries.
In fact, Python’s creator Guido van Rossum said that he wants to make computer programming accessible to everybody.
The best thing - you can code your own apps and games for MAKERphone using Python!
MAKERphone runs a special version of python called MicroPython - which has all the basic functions with some specific ones that we’ve defined in order to help you control your MAKERphone’s hardware.
Python is a type of programming language that’s not compiled but instead interpreted by the device in real time.
Despite that, we’ve designed special code snippets that will “freeze” your Python code and generate an executable file that can be placed on your MAEKRphone’s SD card!
MAKERphone teaches you Scratch
Scratch is a revolutionary program that makes it easy for kids as young as 5 to learn how to code with a simple drag-and-drop system of programming.
It already is one of the most popular programming tools for schools.
An awesome project called Whitecat IDE made it possible to control MAKERphone’s hardware with ease! It’s an open-source online tool that allows you to create code in a Scratch-like environment.
If you’ve never coded before, this is the way to go.
Scratch’s intuitive design will let you code your first MAKERphone app in mere minutes!
MAKERphone loves Arduino
YES, we love Arduino!
Oh, Arduino, you’ve taught us to code and we’ve delved into the word of electronics thanks to your board.
This product and our company was made possible thanks to Arduino’s open-sourcefulness and community.
Albert: “If Arduino was a lady, I’d take her to a fine dinner… with my GF’s permission, of course!”
Therefore, MAKERphone is based on Arduino-compatible ESP32 microcontroller and can be programmed in Arduino IDE (based on C/C++) - the most popular programming environment for makers and hardware enthusiasts.
MAKERphone is compatible with numerous Arduino related examples of manipulating various hardware and software components.
In fact, it's compatible with most Arduino software libraries available online and will work with many Arduino shields and modules with minimal or no library code modifications.
MAKERphone takes you from Padawan to Jedi Master
You’ve never coded before?
You also don’t know a thing about hardware?
Absolutely no problemo as MAKERphone will take you from learning how to wield a soldering iron through assembling your very own fully functional mobile phone all the way to coding your very own app or game for your very own DIY mobile phone.
We’ve segmented the learning process into levels (like in a video game):
MAKERphone does games and apps
MAKERphone comes with a 128MB SD card preinstalled with dozens of useful applications, tools and games.
It comes with all the basic mobile phone-ish apps such as contacts, SMS, phone dialer, music player, as well as a collection of neat GameBoy-inspired games.
MAKERphone is MAKERbuino-compatible
MAKERbuino games can be played on MAKERphone and they’re in full color this time!
MAKE your own apps and games!
MAKERphone is DIY in its every aspect.
Assemble the bits and pieces together in order to create a fully functional phone and get down to coding your own games and apps.
Our comprehensive tutorials will lead you through every step of your creative process.
There are three main ways to create a game/app for your MAKERphone:
A.k.a. colorful blocks that you drag and drop together in order to make your first app.
Use one of the most popular programming languages used in almost every educational institution or school that teaches people coding.
- Arduino (C/C++)
The most popular programming platform for makers and DIY-ers is MAKERphone-compatible and we like it a lot.
After coding your app, you can compile it to an “executable” binary file and put it on your MAKERphone’s SD card.
Apps located on the SD card are accessed through MAKERphone’s main menu via the “Apps” icon.
We’ve coded a programming library with sets of commands that let you easily:
- develop in-app menus and other GUI-related content
- play and develop sound FX and background music
- draw, display and animate bitmaps
- control MAKERphone’s hardware (i.e. make calls, read files from SD card, flash LEDs)
CircuitMess world is a place for MAKERphone users to share their creations, exchange knowledge, and download programs made by others as well as a collection of tutorials, guides and MAKERphone-related documentation.
Every game or app in CircuitMess world is open-source and available with a downloadable source code along with a compiled binary file that you can load directly on your device’s SD card.
To put it simply, you can take a look at the code of every MAKERphone compatible game or app, learn something new, change the code and implement parts of the code in your own project.
Our tutorials collection consists of two main parts:
1) Official tutorials and guides written by the MAKERphone team
2) User-created tutorials that everyone can write and share a bit of knowledge with other creators
Customize your MAKERphone's UI
MAKERphone is customizable.
Express yourself by customizing your phone's UI.
This can be done through MAKERphone's settings or editing a setup file on MAKERphone's SD card.
MAKERphone does multimedia
MAKERphone plays music, shows photos and runs videos.
MAKERphone does multimedia!
It supports mp3 files and you can set your favorite song as a ringtone by simply dragging and dropping it on MAKERphone’s SD card and selecting it in the menu.
8 individually controllable RGB LEDs with 60FPS refresh rate make your MAKERphone glow (it’s literally glowing).
Control LEDs for neat in-game or in-app effects.
Make your MAKERphone turn red when you’re low on health or shooting projectiles in your mobile game.
Use RGB LEDs as a giant flashlight or just as a giant notification light.
MAKERphone has (wicked) specs
Oh, so you’re that smarty pants that talks about teraflops and other imaginary words?
Well, here you go. Here’s a detailed explanation of MAKERhone’s hardware:
- Microcontroller (the chip that does smart stuff):
ESP32 with Xtensa dual-core 32-bit LX6 microprocessor, operating at 160MHz and performing at up to 600 DMIPS.
4MB of built-in flash memory + 520kB of SRAM.
I2c interface, i2s interface, UARTs, PWM, ultra low power consumption and what not.
- Display: 1.8", 160*128px full color (RGB 16bit)
25FPS refresh rate by default, up to 50FPS.
Digitally controllable backlight level.
- Battery: LiPo 3.7V 600mAh, charged through micro USB B port.
Sufficient for approximately 3 days of normal use.
- Sound: 10bit dedicated DAC (PCM5102)
multi-channel MP3 playback
2W class-D audio amp, audio jack 3.5mm, 1W speaker, dedicated EVC (electronic volume controller - PT2257)
- Back lights: 8 independently addressable and controllable RGB LEDs for light effects in your palms!
- Buttons: 4-way mechanical joystick, 12-button numeric keypad, A (confirm), B (back), 4 multi-purpose addressable buttons (C, D, E, F)
- Micro SD card socket: FAT and FAT32 compatible.
Every console comes with an 128MB SD card with dozens of MAKERphone-compatible games and apps preloaded!
Change between games and apps on the go, no computer required!
- RTC (real time clock): DS3231 Extremely Accurate I²C-Integrated RTC with temperature compensation - this thing keeps time and takes care of alarms
- Force feedback: eccentric rotating mass vibration motor (ERM) a.k.a. tiny motor that vibrates the phone
- Network: Built in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.2 BR/EDR and BLE
SIM800L GSM chipset (the thing that calls other people) with built in Quad-band 850/900/1800/1900MHz.
Micro SIM card slot.
Get your name on a custom MAKERphone!
Help us turn consumers into creators and spread the word about MAKERphone among your family and friends.
We will randomly choose 100 (!) of you that shared our campaign on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and thank you with a free personalisation of your new MAKERphone
*EXCITED & BREATHING HEAVILY*
The shared post needs to be set to public so that we can see it too! You'll also be asked to submit a link to your shared post in the survey at the end of the Kickstarter campaign.
Personalisation is made by using a laser cutter.
MAKERphone <3 open-source
We love open-source.
We’ve learned how to code and design electronic devices thanks to internet and open-source technology.
Thus, we want to push our work back into the community.
MAKERphone's software is fully open-source and available for you to download.
MAKERphone's hardware's schematics along with the bill of materials are also open-source and available online.
That means that you can use our documentation to experiment with our hardware design using the provided documentation and schematics and create your own MAKERphone compatible boards and modules.
Oh, and implement our code in your other projects too!
MAKERphone has colors
HOLY COW! TUTTI FRUTTI!
MAEKRphone’s aesthetic design comes in many color options:
- Elegant black
I’M BATMAN, pick this one if you’re a tough guy/girl
- Hipsterish wood
Genuine wood… even smells like wood
- Plain white
White… just that
- Yucky yellow
YUCK! Looks like cheese, though...
- Adriatic blue
Blue as the Croatian sea
- Radioactive orange
Made out of freshly squeezed radioactive oranges
- Cherry red
No cherries were harmed in making of this case
You’ll be able to pick your desired style in a survey sent after the campaign ends (that’s how Kickstarter works, DUH!)
MAKERphone has stretch goals
MAKERphone has rewards
MAKERphone has a timeline
Follow us on social media
We’ve got all of them:
The story of MAKERphone (and CircuitMess)
Albert here! Let me tell you a story of CircuitMess and MAKERbuino.
CircuitMess is a technology startup founded a year and a half ago after a successful Kickstarter campaign for MAKERbuino (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/albertgajsak/makerbuino-a-diy-game-console/updates).
The name of our startup stems from two words:
Circuit (we make electronic circuits) + Mess (our company is a mess)
After successfully delivering MAKERbuino, we were collecting feedback from thousands of users and have started thinking about our next big step.
An idea of a DIY mobile phone came in and we had so much fun brainstorming, developing and goofing around whilst preparing this amazing product and this exciting campaign :)
Our company was founded over a year ago thanks to generous Kickstarter supporters just like you.
As a result of your help, our lives have changed and our hobbies turned into full time jobs.
This wonderful experience allowed us to spread positive influence, open jobs and learn A LOT.
This shaped and defined us as people that we are today.
MAKERphone has a “gang”
This whole story was started by Albert, his brother and a few friends back when he was in high school.
They were all working on it after school/work as much as they could.
Since then, a lot has changed.
We've rented a real workplace and started employing people (job interviews yay!).
CircuitMess has grown to 7 full time employees and a few part-timers and we've successfully converted this small hype-driven business to a self-sustainable startup.
Oh, and we have a microwave oven now too!
Special thanks to: Matija Fućek, Tena Marčac, Degordian, Miron Bedić, Bruno Staroveški, Matea Tepić, Borna Bedić, Laura Rožić, Emil Gajšak, Antonio Valentić, Fran Božidar Prahić, Ana Car, Tomislav Car, Eric the Dog, Infinum, Luka Travas, Darko Kontin, Flavorific, Mediatoolkit, Bornfight, FabLab Hrvatska, Roberto Vdović.
This project is promoted by Jellop, the ad tech power behind the best Kickstarters with 500+ successful Kickstarter projects with over $250MM raised between them.
Risks and challenges
Having a hardware startup can sometimes be harsh.
Mass production risks are real and we’ve taken every precaution to prepare for them:
-MAKERphone uses common, easy to get components that can be easily purchased in large quantities.
-Hired workers and helpers will be doing the production of kits at our headquarters. We will directly control the manufacturing process and the quality of the finished kits
-We already have certain experience with producing similar kits and a production line set up as we’ve already successfully delivered a total of 6000 MAKERbuino kits sold via Kickstarter, our webshop and more than 25 of our distributors worldwide
- We’re a team of hard-working young technology enthusiasts living for what we do and believing in what we live for
We promise we'll keep you updated about any issues that may arise.
- (43 days)