Could You Really Manufacture Your Own Electronics?
What will our electronics look like when we are each making the manufacturing decisions for our own gadgets? And when you only need to make the one that you like, not one that ten million people will like?
That’s the question posed by Peter Krige, Alexander du Preez, and Hannes Harms at the Royal College of Art in London.1 Their O.System concept is like an online mix-and-match catalog of electronic components that you manufacture individually — with 3D printing — to suit your needs.
Here’s how they see the process working:
In this system, people select their electronic products online. They can then visit their local O.Store to talk to the technician about the purchase and add personal touches. O.Products can constantly evolve through update cards in the post, while old electronic cards are sent back for re-manufacture or recycling.
Like Creative Applications writes, the idea that you just make an updated card or other component and send your old one back helps address the problem of electronics becoming obsolete. This sounds like the customized 3D-printed robots project from MIT’s CSAIL, and also like Bobby Genalo’s Art Phones project.
The world is really starting to think in terms of individual, on-demand products. Cool. But what is the role of the industrial designer? Do we all have it in us to think about user experience? Where’s the middle ground for people who really do just want products off the shelf?
- double checked the spelling of these names [↩]
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