Intelligent Hardware Modularity: An Overview

What is Intelligent Modularity?

Consumer electronics that are intelligently modular allow the user to use all or some of the devices in concert quickly and easily.


The following principles indicate the attributes of a ecosystem of devices that are intelligently modular.
Minimalist Connection Hardware
Each device should strive to connect to its partner devices without any additional hardware (e.g. cables, adapters,, etc). Direct connections or wireless connections are best.
Transitive Connections
Devices should be able to link in serial. For instance if a headset can connect to a phone, and a phone can connect to a computer, then connecting the phone to the computer should also connect that phone to the headset.
Transitive Power
Powering any one device should power all other hard-connected devices.
Rugged Connections
If any collection of devices are physically connected to each other they should be done in such a way that it is possible to carry them as a single unit.  Exposed edges should be avoided in order to prevent the possibility of shearing off a partner device when the collective brushes against an object.
Adaptable Interfaces
The physical connection designs should allow for future devices to use them. Ideally this should also mean that other devices and other vendors can take advantage of the physical interfaces. For instance, if a laptop has physical slot for a mobile phone, that slot should be designed in an intelligent way such that other phones or in, in the future, WLAN receivers could be used rather than the recommended mobile phone.

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