“Global warming has caused civilisation as we know it to collapse, how are you going to charge your mobile phone?”
Waste Makers is a series of fun and educational technology kits. Through the construction of improvised items needed in an apocalypse, the kits encourage young people to question that which we take for granted today.
This particular kit guides you through the process of building a wind-up phone charger. By hacking this everyday task, young people can explore life without the consumer culture we have become so reliant upon. The combination of creativity with critical thinking generates a platform to spark conversations about the future of our society.
How it Works
Each kit contains the components required to build the wind-up charger excluding an external casing. Participants are guided through the process of assembling the electronics by an illustrated instruction booklet.
Once the charger has been built and tested, participants are challenged to become “urban scavengers” and to source their own object from the imagined apocalyptic “wasteland” to house the charger. Examples include waste drinks cans, vintage tin boxes (or simply using the cardboard box the kit came in to allow for all skill levels).
Throughout the instruction booklet, participants are posed questions for discussion about the way we treat waste in our society and how far we are from individual self-sufficiency. The aim of the kits is to get young people tinkering, taking back ownership for the objects around us, and being resourceful again.
The project takes inspiration from positive impact of the work of the charity Skill Share Dundee, for which I am a trustee. This charity teaches traditional and useful hands-on skills to the local community. Waste Makers embraces the social impacts of making such as empowerment, self-sufficiency and the ability to think through doing.
The dystopian element was inspired by speculative design thinking: considering alternative realities can help us to better understand our own.
Information of Note
- This projected was short-listed for the Scottish Institute for Enterprise Innovators Challenge 2016.
- This project was exhibited as part of The Common Weal “What Is It Now?” exhibition in Glasgow on May 5 2016.
This booklet details the design process including research behind the project, please click to expand.
For full details of the design process please see my blog of the process here.