HD Voice, No Service Contracts
WiPhone is different. WiPhone uses the existing WiFi around you to make HD Voice calls. For free. Buy it once and it's yours.
Works on most broadband WiFi networks (including most home WiFi connections). No service contract required, and you can even upgrade the open source firmware or expand the hardware to do things it wasn't originally intended for.
(Not One That Owns You)
Modern smartphones are more and more a tool we don't own, but instead one we're only allowed to carry around. One that serves the interests of various tracking networks, corporate boards, and government organizations. You don't own it, it owns you. It tracks you, serves you ads, and sucks away your time with mindless dopamine hits. We want a phone that's back in our control, optimized for our convenience.
We don't like the system today's service providers, tracking networks, and govenrment oversight have set up, and the WiPhone is a phone that puts us back in control. Maybe even fights back a little. Open, simple, firmware allows us to repurpose the phone into whatever application we want. Hardware with accessible I/O and an easy disassembly process enable creation of connected hardware based on your needs.
If you need to call someone who only uses a regular phone number (if they don't have a VoIP app). Typical plans cost about $25/year (US or European providers).
WiPhone is built for hacking, not for some big corporation's bottom line. Complete disassembly in less than a minute, using only 4 screws. The operating system firmware is open, and simple enough to be understood entirely by one motivated person.
Not only is WiPhone capable of completely free calling, it's also an open source, self-contained Arduino development platform. It comes in a nice package, with a battery, power supply, and on/off circuitry, unlike most other dev boards. Once your project is done, instead of an eyesore of tangled wires and stacked boards, it's compact and visually appealing.
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Standard Edition has a 2-tone black face, with polycarbonate shell and back cover.
Hacker's Choice has a clear face and PCB back (PCB back etched and plated DB contacts?)
The Limited Editon Pro version has a titanium frame, 2-tone grey/black face, and carbon fibre rear cover (glass? CF will kill the antenna strength)
* hardware specs are the same for all styles
WiPhone is expandable through daughter boards. The whole back of the phone is a replaceable panel that accepts a standard 1.6mm thickness PCB, which you can use to add whatever functionality you like.
We made a WiPhone into an RC car:
And we also made the coolest way to ever to answer a phone:
The daughterboard headers have power, digital I/O, and all the common embedded busses like SPI, I2C, and UART.
If you need an always-connected phone capable of making calls from the side of the road or wherever you happen to be, WiPhone is not that phone. However, if you're like most of us, 80% or more of your time is spent near accessable WiFi. Or you may find it useful as a second phone. So while dropping the cellular radio does remove a big chunk of capability, it's also trade that brings a number of benefits:
It almost completely disables a wide variety of privacy issues related to tracking. No cookies following you around and no cell tower triangulation.
It eliminates a black box component (the baseband radio) that is closed and encumbered with IP protection, often only has documentation available by NDA, runs firmware we can't control, and likely requires binary blobs to interact with. Hackers don't have the tools or access needed to work with cellular radios at the level needed to do the sorts of things we like, but internet technologies have a long history of enabling instead of obfuscating or obstructing, so it makes a lot of sense to concentrate on WiFi.
WiPhone is a phone, and people will inevitably (shall we say, even obsessively) compare specs and price to mass market phones produced in volumes of millions of units per year. There's no way we can compete in that playing field, but dropping the cellular radio at least lets us keep costs reasonable. Cellular baseband makers like Broadcomm or Qualcomm probably aren't even going to be interested in interacting with us unless we move 10's of thousands of units, and the types of cell modules (such as u-blocks) available to low volume products like ours cost as much as a cheap android phone. If we added one of those low volume type cell modules we'd have to sell our basic phone for the same price as a mid-range full-featured smartphone.
Dropping the cellular radio also means dropping service plans. Which is a great feature for times when you need to stay connected, but don't want to or can't justify an ongoing service contract.
We are a small team and we want to ship something that is reliable and brings joy to use. Concentrating our efforts on a technology that plays to our strengths simplifies our design requirements. Have a look around at all the other technology projects that have done crowdfunding, got seduced by feature creep, and never delivered. Part of delivering something useful is being selective and not trying to add everything you can think of. We needed to choose between being yet another regular phone, or conecntrating on the things that can make WiPhone special, like daughterbaords and an interpreter for easily adding MicroPython apps.
The WiPhone already has a long lasting battery compared to most smartphones, but if you really want to go nuts, the Mega Battery Pack is here to assist you.
The Mega Battery Pack is designed around an IP5306 multi-function power management SOC. The pack installs on the back of the phone and acts exactly like an external power bank, but you don't need a cable since it's connected through the daughterboard headers. It also has an external USB port capable of charging an external device simultaneously with the WiPhone.
LoRa is a radio technology that enables sending short packets of data over a long range (generally kilometers). The LoRa daughter board is designed around the HopeRF RFM95W LoRa-enabled radio module. An onboard 915 MHz PCB antenna makes the board handy and easy to carry anywhere. For users who want more range, add an external antenna using the U.fl connector.
The LoRa daughter board is powered directly from the WiPhone mainboard which means you don't need any external power connections. Just put the daughter board on the back of WiPhone and you are ready to send data packets ... Yeeeeah!
Have you ever wanted a remote control phone that looks vaguely like a tractor? Or maybe your screen addiction has gotten so bad a single colorful glowing rectangle just isn't enough of a dopamine hit any more? Well, you're in luck because this RC car daughterboard ticks those boxes and so many more.
To use the car, you'll need 2 WiPhones since one acts as a controller (or make your own controller using anything that can send UDP packets). The controller phone runs an app that sends commands to the car, and on the RC car side the daughterboard uses a DRV8833 dual H bridge and some micro gearmotors with matching wheels to drive around.
The Sparklepony exists due to an acute shortage of fabulousness in this world. Have you ever felt you were born in the wrong dimension? One where Tron suits are not suitable for business meetings and that platform boots+fur bikini ensemble you wear to burning man every year just gets you laughed at anywhere else? The Sparklepony daughterboard exists to fill your needs.
In the off state (which we refer to as Super Lame-ness), the Sparklepony is normal and boring looking. Perhaps you could even say a little ugly. But activate it's super powers and transport yourself to a world where your glowing orb exudes fabulousness and photons in equal amounts. Do you need to conduct a rave at your next standup meeting? Do you need to add some spice to your morning subway ride? Need to answer the phone in the coolest way possible? Now you can.
Warning: Do not look directly into the Sparklepony at maximum brightness unless you like moderate discomfort and pulsing spots of blindness.
The breakout board provides a prototyping area allowing quick connections to allow debugging your circuit using the WiPhone's onboard processor, buttons, and display. Or expand the capabilities of the phone with your own sensor, input device, or other custom circuit.
This daughter board can be populated with a 3.3V/4.2V/5V power option to do testing with wide range of circuits.
The Bus Pirate daughter board is based on an open hardware digital prototyping tool developed by Ian Lesnet. The Bus Pirate is a general purpose interface to many common embedded bus protocols, and is particularly useful for troubleshooting and early prototyping. It allows rapid communication with embedded devices by providing high level commands that can quickly interface with 1-Wire, I2C, SPI, JTAG, asynchronous serial (UART), MIDI, PC keyboard, HD44780 LCDs, and generic 2- and 3-wire libraries for custom protocols. A normal Bus Pirate would be connected to a PC by USB to a serial terminal, but we've connected ours to the ESP32 processor via the daughterboard connector, which means you can either control it directly from the ESP32 or write a wifi bridge for networked Bus Pirate action.
The Bus Pirate board is built around a PIC24FJ64, and can interact with devices up to 5.5volts. Bus Pirate daughter board comes with shrouded 0.1" pitch 2x5 pin header and can also be populated with right angle 0.1" pitch 2x5 pin header.
This daughter board is built around the PN532 NFC chip, which is one of the most popular NFC chips in the market. It can do tasks such as read and write to tags and cards, communicate with phones and NFC tag emulation (Act like a NFC tag). It can work with any other NFC/RFID Type 1 thru 4 tag.
One example of use for this would be to program your phone as a building passkey for RFID based security systems.
The Qwiic Connect System uses the Inter-integrated Circuit (I2C) Protocol while Grove is a modular, standardized connector prototyping system. The Qwiic/Grove daughter board gives you access to use the 100's of existing Qwiic/Grove boards by simply plugging in the Qwiic/Grove cable to proper connector on daughterboard.
This daughterboard also has on board level shifting circuity to enable communication with 3.3V and 5V Qwiic/Grove boards.
Add a light to the phone with a high power CREE LED.
The torch daughter board uses a CREE XML T6 LED and a SGM3785 Flash LED Driver. Current can be set via PWM Signal and max current can be limited using an external resistor.
Normal phones might have 2 or 3 modes available to drive the flash LED, but with this setup you can make it do exactly what you want. Temporary flash? Strobe? Morse Code? All are no problem with simple Arduino programming.
Bar code scanner to read 1D and 2D bar codes on multiple surface types.
The Weather Monitor daughter board monitors Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), humidity, and temperature. A CCS811 Ultra-low power digital gas sensor is used for monitoring indoor air quality and an HDC1080 makes humidity and temperature measurements. This shield should be helpful to provide an indication of indoor air quality via an equivalent CO2 or TVOC reading. VOCs are often categorized as pollutants and/or sensory irritants and can come from a variety of sources like construction materials (paint, carpet, etc.), machines (copiers, processors, etc.) and even people (breathing, smoking, etc.)
The CCS811 sensor requires an inintial 48 hour burn-in, followed by calibration. Additionally, allow a 20 minute settling period for the sensor to come to a steady operating state to get maximum accuracy.
WiPhone is a unique, minimal phone. It uses WIFI to make HD voice calls, for free. This means that there is no required service contract - and it’s yours for life.
WiPhone is an open source phone, compatible with the Arduino platform: it’s hackable, modular, cheap, and open.
You can sign up for one of the free VoIP services. This method allows you to receive calls, and to call anyone with a VoIP app installed on their phone or computer.
If you need to call regular phone numbers you will need to sign up for a paid VoIP service. Those generally cost significantly less than residential or cellular service.
These features aren't currently included in the design. We are concentrating on making VoIP work well before we start adding features. But if you can design a PCB, we've reserved a header on the back of the phone for expansion if you want to add that capability.
Update: We have designed a LoRA daughterboard which may go into production if the response is big enough
See the Features section for the present specs. These are subject to revision.