The outfit is working a modular smartphone concept, Puzzlephone, and hopes to ship working products before the end of the year. The idea is to increase the longevity of smartphones and reduce waste in the process.
The plan is to create a Puzzlecluster platform made out of the old phones and use it as a company supercomputer.
Alejandro Santacreu, CEO at Circular Devices, said that the Brain module includes the CPU, which will help power the clusters. The plan is also to reuse old battery modules for back-up power. Drawings of the Puzzlecluster architecture show a chassis with slots for the reused modules, which can then be interconnected with others to create the cluster. Just one unit could also be used as a desktop computer.
The first CPU modules should be available for reuse by 2017 so we are talking a long way into the future. But the goal is to deliver a scalable product which can be used by small and medium enterprises, public institutions and data centres. Potential applications include rendering and data analytics, according to Circular Devices. If the cost is low enough, hobbyists and students could use it to learn more about programming for parallel computing.
While corporates might be the only one which have enough old smartphones to create clusters, the work builds on the popularity of the Rasberry Pi single-board computer which is being built into supercomputer clusters as the moment.