MIT PhD student David Mellis has designed and built a fully operational mobile phone, named the DIY Cellphone, using about US$150-worth of parts.

What's more, he's published source code, circuit designs and case designs on GitHub so that others can do the same. The phone features a quad-band GSM module and 1.8-inch 160x128-pixel TFT display, but its most eye-catching feature is plainly the laser-cut plywood and veneer body.

Mellis describes the project as an experiment into the individual, customized construction of the what is usually the most ubiquitous of mass-produced gadgets: the mobile phone.

"We hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones," Mellis writes. "Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice."

The current version is an early prototype, and at the moment the phone's software only allows voice calls. However, it sounds as if there are no hardware limitations with the current setup that would prevent the extension of the phone's function, including SMS, Mellis suggests.

View gallery - 18 images