Project Ara is still well underway despite the delay, and the team is still working hard on the device. The previous plan was to hold the modules in place with electropermanent magnets, which require energy to become magnetic, but no energy to stay magnetic. But unfortunately, that idea is out the window.
— Project Ara (@ProjectAra) August 19, 2015
Project Ara Tweeted that electropermanent magnets will not be used after failing the drop test. It’s likely that they are not strong enough to hold modules in place during a strong impact, so a tougher system will have to be used. You definitely don’t want your camera module flying off and getting lost.
The developers of the project still have plenty of time to get it right, as it should be launching in 2016, barring further delays. But it’s a shame, the electropermanent magnet idea was really cool.