Monica Bhyrappa


Design for Repurpose: Electronics edition

I'm an Industrial Designer with a focus on consumer electronics. I address the invisible problems unrecognised in accessibility and sustainability through consumer electronics through my work. I explore unconventional forms and tech to challenge the conventional boundaries of industrial design. While I realize that my projects are conceptual and not in the market(YET), the need exists. I strive to make it feasible and most importantly, I believe that addressing and catering to these issues is one step closer to an inclusive and sustainable world. 

Jugaatronics is a system of objects that aims to address the current e-waste issues by designing consumer electronics that are repurposable, creating new electronics and objects. This project is born from the cultural practice of 'Jugaad' - the practice of repurposing everyday objects to extend their usability, a form of frugal innovation deeply embedded in my upbringing in India.

Most electronic devices are often discarded at the first sign of malfunction—deemed unnecessary. Only 20% of electronics we dispose of gets recycled. The other 80% doesn’t even reach the recycling unit and gets dumped in the landfill making e-waste the biggest waste stream in the world. While the whole world is assuming that recycling is the way to sustainability, I’m addressing this gap by introducing the act of repurposing electronics we buy. My thesis highlights this throwaway culture by integrating the concept of Jugaad(repurpose) into the lifecycle of electronic products, demonstrated as a hairdryer. 


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The “Just a hairdryer” is a hair dryer that can become 7 other repurposed objects - a vase, tea strainer, pen stand, vacuum cleaner, desk fan, fabric shaver and clothes steamer.

Through various product death scenarios and a convenient user experience, the hair dryer can be broken down to fragments and adding attachments to repurpose into other conventional objects.


Black body hairdryer with chartreuse green screws in the front. Around the hairdryer are other attachments such as a hairdryer nozzle(chartreuse green), diffuser(chartreuse green), fabric shaver(bright pink) and clothes steamer(bright pink) placed on a white backdrop.

With a simple screw and thread mechanism, the object is compatible with the regular-size lids of mason jars. This adds a layer of accessibility for consumers to jugaad with ease. Along with the Jugaatronics app that offers repurposing options to consumers, the brand builds on an open-sourceable eco-system of products that are accessible for a consumer and sustainable for the planet.


Black hairdryer next to 3 different sizes of mason jars. The medium size mason jar is screwed onto the front of the hairdryer.

The first sign of a malfunction scenario -the death of the weakest component- the heating element stops working while the motor and fan are fully functional. The heating element component is simply unscrewed and repurposed as a toothbrush holder. The diffuser’s 2 pieces come apart and are flipped to be jugaaded into a fan grill. This when screwed onto the hairdryer front section makes a mini desk fan.

The other repurposed function is a vacuum cleaner. Removing the back grill and attaching the nozzle - designed in a way the airflow is downwards when compared to the hairdryer situation. The volume helps collect the dust and dispose easily. No dust is entered as there are HEPA filters behind the fan. 

The second sign of malfunction occurs when the motor and fan die, leading to complete product death and zero functionality. The external housing of the hairdryer is repurposed into a vase, tea strainer and a pen stand. The hairdryer is designed in a way that disassembly comes easy without the need for screwdrivers but all based on simple mechanisms as the internals are sent for recycling.

While these 2 scenarios are the most predictable, the last scenario is unfortunately the most common. Due to the death of desirability, a consumer deems the product unnecessary. The hair dryer can be repurposed into a fabric shaver as there is an adaptable pivot compatible with commonly found fabric shaver blades.

Another repurposing option is a clothes steamer. Attaching  a water filled mason jar (water body) to the front of the heating element, a mesh channels water droplets to the heating element that immediately produces steam which is directed to the fan. A clothes steamer nozzle attached to the back of the hair dryer lets the steam narrow and make it more efficient.

Being the main connection for both instructions and community build, the app builds and promotes the jugaad lifestyle with open-sourable resources and jugaad ideas that is shared and celebrated within the space. By uploading images/ideas/questions into the space, users can redeem incentives and offers for their next purchase creating a sense of encouragement.

The packaging of Jugaatronics is repurposable as a mail box for repair and recycling services with the closest facility addresses included in it.

With compatibility to other common objects like mason jars and commonly found spare parts, the system aims at delivering an accessible eco-system of objects that are open to repurpose. The ease in repurposing these objects starts with the idea of building a community that bridges user satisfaction with sustainability efforts.


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