Health-monitoring components for modular Google smartphone

Health-monitoring components designed for Google's Project Ara modular smartphone

San Francisco studio Lapka has imagined a range of health-related modules that would fit onto the Project Ara smartphone – for which Google unveiled the latest prototype last week (+ slideshow).

Lapka and Google Project Ara

Lapka has created seven conceptual modules that would perform functions including monitoring air quality, UV levels and heart rate – all designed to fit onto the skeleton of the Project Ara smartphone.

"We're eager to explore body network and personal environment, from blood and urine to radiation and carbon monoxide," said Lapka's creative and managing director, Vadik Marmeladov.

Lapka and Google Project Ara

Placed into the slots on the back and secured with magnets, each component would collect, store and relay data to the user via the phone's screen on the front.

Lapka and Google Project Ara

The green slatted module would measure the quality of the surrounding air, warning users against high levels of volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. Temperature and humidity would also be recorded.

Lapka and Google Project Ara
Air quality module

"Air quality affects our comfort, health and other external parts of our environment that we care about," Marmeladov said. "Now you'll know when and where should you open a window, where to place your yoga mat, and even why you're dreaming a certain way."

Lapka and Google Project Ara
Carbon dioxide monitor module

A separate block, coloured blue and pink, would include a carbon dioxide sensor that could notify users about the length of time they can safely stay in areas where high levels of the noxious gas are recorded.

Light would be captured and assessed by a small yellow component with a white dome, measuring levels of illuminance and ultraviolet (UV) radiation to advise on skin and eye protection. It could also provide hints for taking better photos.

Lapka and Google Project Ara
Light module

"Our interaction with light, or the absence of it, can inform our habits of conservation, activity and reclusiveness," said Marmeladov.

An electrocardiogram (EKG) would function as a heart-rate monitor and measure the organ's beat and electrical activity.

Lapka and Google Project Ara
EKG module

Other possible uses could include finding the cause of unexplained chest pain and checking how well medicines are working.

Lapka and Google Project Ara
Glucometer module

Also proposed are a glucometer, for measuring blood sugar levels on the go, and a breathalyser for checking alcohol content and hydration.

Lapka and Google Project Ara

The function of the final module – coloured red and named Soul – is a mystery. "We can't talk about this one just yet," Marmeladov said.

The aesthetics of the phone accessories are based on shoe designs – including trainers in the Spring Summer 2014 collection by fashion brand Y-3 for Adidas – which mix and match colours and materials.

Lapka and Google Project Ara

Lapka has also presented a series of graphics that could be used on Project Ara's 3D-printed components, including the spiky black and white Night Out print by London studio Eley Kishimoto and the blue camouflage Explorer pattern.

Lapka and Google Project Ara

Google is aiming to test the Project Ara device and up to 30 swappable components in Puerto Rico later this year.