The purpose of this project was to generate a design concept that challenges and critiques the existing state of a particular topic. As the designer, I entered the project wanting to focus on smartphones, and their implications on the world today.
My project was originally intended to predict the potential health consequences of smartphone use. I had the option of using a storyboard, a public awareness campaign, or even satire to convey this potential future.
However, it became clear that although this idea fell under the umbrella of speculative design, it was not as critical of the existing state of smartphones.
I decided to make a major pivot, and focus not on the health consequences of smartphone use, but of the connection between mining and smartphone manufacturing.
What was stunning about my research was learning how thousands of people from around the world die as a result of mining minerals and metals needed to manufacture smartphones. It became clear that my project needed to convey how big of a problem it is, and what needed to be done in order to create meaningful change.
As a result, my final design concept is a two part poster that presents a new smartphone that does not use as many materials needed to manufacture your average smartphone. It explains the trade-offs of using fewer materials, as well as the connection between number of lives saved and the manufacturing of this new phone.
The designer encourages every visitor to the Miller Gallery to go to ecophone.weebly.com to learn more about how the mining industry is connected to manufacturing and assembly of smartphones.