Outside the Dome





Technology is accelerating; so is the amount of e-waste. Proliferating new purchases is a shortcut to economic gain, yet proliferation sacrifices social and ecological well being. Activating repair benefits systems— by decelerating the waste stream, and serving as a regenerative module for ethical material collection. Repair literacy encourages an individual’s engagement with materials while challenging corporations to acknowledge repair in the design process. Therefore, electronics users should have the opportunity to learn about repair before the need arises. A sustainable product ecosystem asks for the collaborative effort of public and private sectors and most importantly, the repair practices of individuals can lead this trajectory.







↓ Factor Product Repairability Before Purchase

Aether is a Chrome extension that provides product repairability rating and repair pricing while shopping, allowing consumers to evaluate repairability before purchase. 

The efficacy of repair is influenced by the decisions made in the design process— both structural designs in the hardware and repair service availability would profoundly affect the difficulty of a repair operation.

Additionally, operating repairs on some devices are more costly than others. For example, the Motorola Razr that features innovative hardware designs is barely repairable and will cost $300 for a battery replacement. The already steep sales price is a misrepresentation of how much one will have to pay throughout product use, considering this purchase is an investment for long term use. 

With the transparency of the total price that includes a minimal repair cost and sales cost, and the providing availability of repair services for pre-purchase assessment, customers can determine which product is more repairable, economical, and easier to maintain. 

Learn Tech the Food Way is a visual series that brings much needed visibility to repair practices by playfully analogizing the sophistication of a mobile phone structure to food preparation, thereby encouraging all electronics users to become repairers themselves.

Repair and repairability is a hidden feature, yet it is one that requires more attention and action. Utilizing food as an analogy provides a familiar medium to the usual technical process, and helps to visualize what to expect when getting under the shell of the product— i.e. the layers and components attached and how they work together. 

Regardless of how complex a repair process is, electronic users should always default to repair instead of new purchases. The environmental benefits of repair outweigh new purchases— regardless of how sustainable the production process is, a new product is always an additional unit of materials gathered and invested. 






In proposing options for a livable future, I am asking for action from everyone- companies, lawmakers, consumers--to cooperate as citizens of this planet. It takes top-down and bottom-up practices to meet in the middle, where conversations extend beyond the familiar cohort and context; it takes organizations of any size, as small as an individual and as big as a corporation, to maintain a healthy, resilient product system; and it takes slowing down to speed up again when social, ecological, and economic relations are remapped before investing in new growth strategies.







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RISD Grad Show 2020