Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2021


Industrial Design

First Major Professor

Carlos Cardoso


Master of Industrial Design (MID)


Mechanical Engineering


Our Earth is in danger. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is currently the world’s most rapidly-growing waste stream, and now, in the wake of the increased electronic consumption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this highly-toxic waste stream is growing at rates faster than ever seen before. Present designs of electronic devices lack simple repairability and upgradeability, and consumers continue to practice overconsumption bringing about dishearteningly-short lifespans for today’s modern electronic devices. Because of this, the industry is in desperate need of an intervention which both enables and encourages the extended use of these devices, and this project aims to facilitate that goal through application of a three-part modular design intervention.

First, a precedent will be selected, in this case the smartphone, to represent the broader category of consumer electronics due to its notoriously-short lifespan, high-frequency usage, complex composition, and high concentration of rare earth metals. Next, this device will be reimagined as a modular device which enables users to repair and upgrade its components without technical aptitude, and enables a high degree of adaptability for future technology. Finally, a reflective approach will be taken to look back at the project’s process, and the learnings will be taken forward to provide a set of design and implementation guidelines for facilitating the transformation of the consumer electronics industry, helping to ensure the prosperity and health of our people and our planet for generations to come.

Copyright Owner

Fransen, Ryan

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