Final Concept – Circular Design Strategies

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Design a new and more circular speaker. This was the task I was given. Throughout the process I have narrowed down the task and decided to design a speaker specifically for use at music festivals. The reason I took this decision was because I identified a market where it would be attractive for the users to use a product service system. In a festival setting access is much more important than ownership. Changing the business model is key to delivering solutions that will be more sustainable in the end, because it can give control over the whole product life (and afterlife). A product that is perfectly designed for reparability has little effect if the users don’t have any technical knowledge or motivation to repair their own speaker. It is also pointless to design for disassembly if the product anyway ends up in the bin. But in a product service system the manufacturer or service provider can make sure that repair and disassembly will take place. And then it suddenly makes sense to design with this in mind. That is why I choose to design a product service system. I used the circular design strategies in the following way:

 

Design for attachment and trust

The interaction with the product was very important for me. The product should be fun and simple to use and I wanted a more physical and tangible interaction than just pressing a button. This was a challenge, since a simple and sturdy construction also had high priority. The users should find the features and design so attractive that they would prefer the solution instead of bringing their own speakers. The product should be trustworthy in the way that the users shouldn’t fear that it would break or be stolen during the festival. This meant that a sturdy design and antitheft function was required.

 

Design for durability

A music festival full of drunk young people is probably one of the most extreme use scenarios you can imagine. A durable and sturdy design was therefore paramount. The following principles were important in the final design:

  • Simple construction with as few parts as possible
  • Simple use with few buttons and transfer of functionality to app
  • Ruggedized product – that would allow drops and tough use
  • Waterproof – Through tight product enclosure, waterproof drivers with aluminium face and plug cover.
  • Scratch and dirt resistant surfaces – dark surfaces with rough surface treatment to hide dirt and scratches.

 

Design for dis- and reassembly

The product is designed for easy assembly in mind, which also allows for easy disassembly. No glue is used for the assembly and a few standard screws allows for easy disassembly.

 

Design for ease of maintenance and repair

The product is designed with repair in mind.

  • The product is modular, so it is possible to replace a whole module. The battery is in a module that is very easy to change. All the electronics is also placed together in one end which means that it is easy to access and replace.

 

Design for standardization and compatibility

Use of the Bluetooth standard means that the speaker can be used with any phone. The core idea of the product is that it should be able to connect to other speakers, so the speakers together will create a larger network.

 

Design for upgradability and adaptability

The modular design allows for easy upgradability. The battery can easily be exchanged to a larger one and only minor changes would be required to create a whole product family. Furthermore the product features a USB port and an internal memory, which mean that the firmware can be upgraded.

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