How to fix our relationship with electronics?

Twice a year the Shuttleworth Foundation have the opportunity to award new fellowships to exceptional individuals from a pool of brave applicants who are unafraid to re-imagine the world we live in. This round saw the addition of an Honorary Steward, Joi Ito, making the final selection from the short-list. Joi brought his unique perspective on openness and technology for social impact, along with his experience as Director of the MIT Media Lab. He has chosen Fellows that he believes have a strong sense of troublemaker about them, but also have the ability to deliver on their stated objectives.

Ugo Vallauri / Fellow 2016

Wants to fix our relationship with electronics, putting people and the planet at the centre.

More and more of the electronics we use are becoming software-enabled. This provides a level of convenience almost unimaginable ten years ago, but what happens when manufacturers stop supporting them? Additionally, all kinds of products, from radios to laptops, are becoming more disposable and less repairable: the current closed ecosystem of electronics design and manufacture leads to faster obsolescence than ever before. Do we ever really own the electronics in our house or office, or are we merely using it until manufacturers stop providing spare parts? Where do electronics go to die, and how much of it can the planet handle?

Those are just some of the questions that have driven Ugo to co-found the Restart Project. Through the repair and reuse events the organisation hosts, he has gathered valuable data on the weaknesses in the current electronics ecosystem. To bring about change, Ugo is engaging consumers, designers, manufacturers and policymakers to help the industry evolve towards more sustainable, open practices.

Ugo’s focus on repair, repurpose and reuse brings a fresh perspective to the maker movement, the Internet of Things, recycling and protecting the environment. It seems easier and more fun to keep creating new things than it is to get to grips with issues of durable designs, sustainable supply chains and effective reuse. Repair augments the original into further and unexpected use. Only openness will make this universally possible.

Still taken from the video “Reimagine Phoenix: Transforming Trash Into Resources” | Image credit: City of Phoenix/Citizen Group



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