We’ve seen so-called “working” iPhones created in Minecraft before, but they pale in comparison to this one, created by Verizon: It’s a towering, skyscraper-size smartphone that allows you to make video calls and even browse the web!
Minecraft allows you to create a lot of computer-like things, through use of the game’s programming blocks, called Redstone. But to create this working smartphone, Verizon needed to tap into a more powerful way to code in the popular game.
Slashgear has a good explanation of how it works:
To accomplish this seemingly impossible task, Verizon hired programmers to create what they called a Boxel plugin. Basically it’s a Minecraft server plugin that can convert web pages and even streaming video into Minecraft blocks to be display in the world in real time. Of course, it’s just an approximation of the actual image or video, considering the constraints of the boxy world. That also explains why the cellphone is so huge, in order to accommodate as many boxels as possible to decently represent a picture.
The video call image, and the smartphone itself, is decidedly low-res, but it’s still incredibly impressive. One of the most amusing details is that for the giant smartphone to work, it needs to be within range of a (custom) Minecraft cell tower, which can be installed in a few clicks. And as an extra-cool touch, if you make a video call from the Minecraft phone to your computer, you see your Minecraft avatar on the screen!
If you want to try out the Minecraft iPhone for yourself, you can download the source from Github here.