Ugo Vallauri wants to fix our relationship with electronics, putting people and the planet at the centre. More and more of the electronics we use are becoming software-enabled. This provides convenience, but also raises many questions about long-term support and ownership, with designs becoming more disposable and less repairable. The current closed ecosystem of electronics design and manufacture leads to faster obsolescence than ever before. Do we ever really own the electronics in our house or office, or are we merely using it until manufacturers stop providing spare parts? Where do electronics go to die, and how much of it can the planet handle?
Those are just some of the questions that have driven Ugo to co-found the Restart Project. Through the repair and reuse events the organisation hosts, he has gathered valuable data on the weaknesses in the current electronics ecosystem. To bring about change, Ugo is engaging consumers, designers, manufacturers and policymakers to help the industry evolve towards more sustainable, open practices. Ugo’s focus on repair, repurpose and reuse brings a fresh perspective to the maker movement, the Internet of Things, recycling and protecting the environment. It seems easier and more fun to keep creating new things than it is to get to grips with issues of durable designs, sustainable supply chains and effective reuse. Repair augments the original into further and unexpected use. Only openness will make this universally possible.
Twice a year we award a number of small grants to a collection of social change agents, no strings attached, in support of their work. We call these Flash Grants and recipients are selected based on nominations from our Fellows. Each award is worth $5,000.