Amplify: Finding opportunities on obsolete electronics
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Abstract

The disposal of electronic waste is becoming one of the growing problems that the planet is facing. Tons of electronic waste is dumped illegally to 3rd world countries. Consequently the local people in those countries are exposed to levels of toxicity that could cause them serious diseases as well as the degradation on the natural ecosystems. The electronic waste is perceived as useless by our society, and this project aims to challenge that idea by looking at sustainable ways of manipulating electronics.

Inspiration and Method

The concept was influenced by online platforms that enable individuals to share their knowledge, to bring communal value; specially hackers, makers and DIY (Do It Yourself) communities. In the final result you can see the incorporation of rich customer service features, such as a transparent process or the emphasis on the assistance support.

To get an overview of the of the end life of an electronic product from different perspectives, I carried out interviews with users, electronics producers and hackers/makers. Tracking the electronic waste recycling process gave me insights of the stages and processes involved. The insights were quickly synthesized into a soft concept that gain strength by letting testers act service features in different use scenarios. The data collected during the role-play lead me to a solid concept focused on the user's journey experience.

Result

Amplify is a service that aims to create a sustainable consumer culture by providing assistance, knowledge and necessary tools for customers, in order to increase the lifespan of obsolete electronics.

The service aids its customers to repurpose, repair and reuse their electronics; besides providing tutorial templates to share their knowledge.

It offers an online and offline experience through both the webpage and the physical space, where clients can decide to follow repurpose or repair tutorials, at home, or at Amplify Space. Amplify organizes demanded events to bring the community together and to come up with new catalog pieces.

Giving access to technical knowledge to people would create a sustainable consumer culture which could challenge the existing business model of the electronics producers. However it could also encourage the electronic producers to come up with new design opportunities such as adaptive and long lasting electronics. This service will ultimately generate a positive social and environmental impact.