Whether product obsolescence is planned or just happens, either way product lifetimes are getting shorter and shorter. (source) With Endless Objects we sought to build “The Spotify of Consumer Products”; a way to help product businesses transition to more circular, performance-based or lease models.
The rise of makerspaces and fablabs in urban areas all over the world has made digital manufacturing technology accessible to the masses. Prosumers are already making and maintaining their own products made with a.o. 3d-printing technology and programmable microprocessors like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Why shouldn’t other kinds of consumer products be maintainable or upgraded in these urban workshops? Companies are still afraid of being liable for bad quality products and are hesitant to share information on the design. We sought to make it both profitable and safe for companies to start sharing this information with makerspaces and fablabs so that consumers can get their products serviced locally and sustainably.

A test case was done with the company Bugaboo. Several replacement items were designed and printed by a group of interns. These parts were tested for strength and durability and assessed on their contribution to the sustainability of the Bugaboo stroller. The parts and repair guide can be found here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2688454

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The video shows a repaired Bugaboo Frog brake handle which became the reason to start the project with Bugaboo and have interns do a study.

To make businesses adopt this more circular model using digitally, locally fabricated products/parts, a certification process needs to be applied/developed in order to ensure quality from the various make spaces. However, this adds extra cost to the products. When a customer decides to repair the product theirselves, then they take their own responsibility and lose the warranty of the company. Perhaps a broader call to action is needed to get companies to share more of this information so that their customers can take their own responsibility. Until that happens… In July, 2018 the project and the repair guide that the interns wrote was awarded second place in the iFixit Dare to Repair contest.

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