Samsung built a bitcoin mining rig made out of 40 old Galaxy S5 devices that run on a new operating system for the company’s upcycling initiative, according to Motherboard. The company’s C-Lab developed the mining rig and other uses for old phones, which were on display at the company’s recent developer’s conference in San Francisco. The company displayed old Galaxy phones and assorted tablets stripped of Android software repurposed into various objects.
The company noted in an information sheet that the eight Galaxy S5 units are capable of mining bitcoin at greater power efficiency than a standard desktop computer. Desktops, however, are not currently standard bitcoin mining tools. The company declined to answer questions about the mining rig.
Samsung has worked on bitcoin technology in the past, having partnered with IBM on bitcoin blockchain applications.
Samsung to Release Software
Samsung plans to release the software for the projects it displayed at the conference for free, a company spokesperson, Robin Schultz, told Motherboard. Schultz said the platform offers an environmentally responsible way to make use of old Galaxy devices.
Upcycling devices requires the support of the original manufacturer.
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, said software holds the key to keeping old electronic devices running longer. The software in old phones does not run on new apps.
iFixit is helping Samsung repair old S3s for the upcycling project. Weins said Samsung has built a layer between the hardware and the ability to install things on it.
The upcycling project has a video on Gitub. The site will allow users to download software to remove Android and open the devices to other types of software. Users will be able to browse various software projects. Users will also be able to upload their own projects and software.
Such support for repurposing devices is unusual. Apple and other companies make it difficult for users to fix broken devices. Samsung also programmed an old phone with facial recognition software shaped as an owl to guard a house entrance, repurposed a Galaxy S3 to monitor a fish tank, and turned a Galaxy tablet into an ubuntu powered laptop.
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