Scenario B: Endless Upgrades – The Iterative SolutionPosted: June 6, 2011
Scenarios of Sustainability within design.
What if our products never became waste?
Infinitely upgradable, endless lifecycle, constant innovation growth and evolution. Closed loops of technology cycles that are broken down, and remade into the latest generation of must have features.
What would your cell phone look like if it was infinitely upgradable?
If the high energy, high toxicity components, namely the electronic core, was re-usable and upgradable, then this could be an interesting step forward. But perhaps the scale of product is too small for realistic exploration.
Do you want to hack your car?
Old cars could be repaired easily, upgraded and experimented with. Home mechanics could pride themselves on the evolution of their car, and celebrate their personal modifications and improvedments over the factory standard model. A contemporary car owner requires a degree in computer science and molecular science to make serious changes to their automobile. Is this a good thing? Software, through the open source revolution, is highlighting its tremendous value. A little tweak here and there and perhaps the car’s performance is boosted, or fuel efficiency improved. But the range of modifications, and people capable of accessing them are going to be severely limited, even if car makers suddenly invite the general public into their code.
Here is a great article about an “open source car”, which is not a new idea, since Amory Lovins’s team developed the Hypercar (100 mile per gallon carbon fibre creation) with all the hardware plans available for free.
Click on the image – Yves Behar ha a very playful concept on the hackable car.
The liability of customization.
Then there are critical issues such as safety. If the home tinkerer is able to experiment with reducing the weight of their car who is ultimately responsible for the safety? How would insurance cover this? This is a high risk venture for many businesses.
Ok… let’s take a step back to what this discussion is meant to be about: Scenarios of Sustainability.
For “Endless Upgrades” to make any sense, a greater understanding of what upgrades are desired, is needed. Why do people buy a new car every couple of years? Perhaps satisfying the desire for a “new car smell”, perfect exterior, and improved fuel efficiency (my intuitive stab at the previous question) is not as impossible as first considered.
On the car showroom, beside the new car salesperson, and the second hand car salesperson, perhaps there is an upgrade-car salesperson. This could be the equivalent of an interior designer for cars, or “pimp” my ride expert. They could quote you ways of improving, updating your car, and the inherent return on investment that would be received on resale. It occurs in our largest investment of all, the home, why not on our worst investment, the car?