After visiting the design museum, I asked myself the following questions focusing specifically on one or two exhibits.I chose the twisting desktop light dimmer.
Question one – How do you think it was made?
- Blown glass
- Metal filament placed in the centre
- Plastic moulded around the bottom of the bulb
Questions two – Where might the constituent raw materials come from?
- Oil to produce plastic
- Mined metal from beneath the Earth
- Glass from rock/sand
Question three – What manufacturing decisions would the designer have had to consider? what will happen to the product once the user no longer have use for it?
- Is it easy to change the bulb?
- Is it sustainable? even though the dimmer means the user can optionally turn down the brightness, thus reducing the amount of energy used, however the raw materials used are harmful to the environment.
- The product is likely to end up in landfill after the user has finished using the product. The lifespan of the product is also very small meaning it will get to landfill quicker, especially if the bulb isn’t rechargeable.
Question four – Might there be other ways to make the object
- All glass – glass is highly recyclable
- Sensor not twist – the product could use a sensor instead of twist so dirty hands aren’t over the plastic, and maybe reducing the need for more plastic.
Question five – How might you change the object to affect how it is used
- Sensor – dim without touching
- Solar panels to charge battery during the day
Question one – How do you think it was made?
This stripped back kettle was made using plastic for the base, an electrical circuit to generate heat, and a metal rod.
Questions two – What different kinds of materials and processes were involved?
The metal used for the metal rod is stainless steel, which is a metal alloy mixed of elements such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum, silicon, aluminium and carbon. The metals are mined, and this is a dirty process effecting the environment negatively, and destroying habitats and the earth in the process. The plastic used is derived from organic products. The materials used in the production of plastics are natural products, such as salt, coal, cellulose, natural gas, and crude oil. Crude oil is a complex mixture of thousands of compounds that emit toxic gasses such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Not only does the process pollute the earth with natural gasses, it also is responsible for 86% of ocean debris, and marine wildlife is suffering. 1000000 seabirds and marine mammals die from plastic ingestion or entanglement.
Questions three – Where might the constituent raw materials come from?
Plastic comes from crude oil which is found beneath the ground. This is a very valuable resource for not only corporations, but the government as it is needed all along the production process of loads of different products. The rate at which we are using crude oil means we are not only damaging the earth beyond repair, but we are likely to run out.
Question four – What manufacturing decisions would the designer have to consider? What will happen to it once the user no longer has use for it?
The designer of the MIITO would have to consider the lifeline of the product, and asking themselves how long will the user use the product? I imagine the product has a lifeline no longer than 5 years, and the likelihood is the product will end up in landfill, which is not good for the environment and the plastics won’t biodegrade.
Question five – May there be other ways to make the object?
There could be other better ways to make this product more sustainable and reduce its impact through lifetime. The stainless steel used in the design could be recycled, so if it was made clear to the user they may not throw it straight into landfill. I think the plastic is the issue in the design. It has negative implications on the environment from extraction right though to disposal. To improve the product, I would look at other ways to generate energy, so the product is more sustainable and “green” creating its own energy, meaning the product would be wireless and convenient. I would also look at making the base from a more sustainable material such as rubber, or glass that can be recycled.
Question six – How might these changes affect the way people use this object?
The changes I propose to make would make a statement to the user that they should be smart and what impact they are having on the environment. It could spark a big movement to be more green and be conscious of their impact on the environment.