This project was created in response to the growing e-waste problem. In 2019, 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste was generated globally however, less than 20% of it was formally collected and recycled. E-waste can have damaging effects on those working and living near it. More than 18 million children and adolescents are engaged in this sector and are at risk of exposure to more than 1,000 harmful substances.
Although the right to repair movement is growing, there are still so many un-repairable consumer electronics. This is a large problem with wireless earbuds. Their small size and weight mean they are not factored into Government recycling targets and are not accepted by many recycling plants. Currently there are no repairable wireless earbuds on the market and no companies encourages the re-pair of the product due to safety concerns.
This led to the outcome of the project being a modular repairable wireless earbud. After a long testing and development process the product was split into three core sections, the speaker, battery and PCB. Each module is held together via magnets and a TPU band. The connections between the modules are wireless pogo pin connections which allow the user to easily replace each module. By using this modular wireless approach, possible barriers users have when repairing products are removed. Furthermore, the user is prevented from affecting the safety of the product by incorrectly repairing it. The product would be part of a closed loop system where the user is able to return the product or a broken module to the company in exchange for a discount off future products or components. This would ensure proper recycling of the components. The name Loop references the circular life-cycle of the product as well as acknowledging the band used in the design which helps create a unique identity for the product.