Saturday, June 21, 2008

Metacycle offers big bounty for object hacking

This post is proud to have been syndicated to the Ponoko Blog.

via Core77

Canadian site Metacycle aims to "unite a community of designers who share the goal of using all available resources and technologies to help prolong the useful life of products". They are doing this by challenging users to repurpose a variety of objects from toothbrushes to VHS tapes. They are offering 15,000 Canadian dollars to the best concept submitted by June 30th - have a look at the type of concepts they're looking for - the guidelines are here. They're looking for sketches, diagrams or renderings and a short description. Optionally you can upload .pdf or .stl files too - according to the site, all intellectual property remains with the designer and will be released under a non-commercial use Creative Commons license.


The background to the site looks interesting. Arising out of two research projects between the University of Montreal and Concordia University concerned with rapid prototyping and sustainable design. Here is their plan for the future:

"... Metacycling aims to define an alternative model of consumption based on product longevity. This concept, based on the rejuvenation of products through the use of distributed Rapid Prototyping technology, will be implemented by linking consumers and designers through an interactive framework and a process known as Participatory Design (PD). This process puts the designer and end user into direct contact and assures that user requirements are fully defined and taken into account.

There's no doubt that there are tremendous advantages to the creation of a virtual community: the exponential development of creative ideas or even the possibility of finding unexpected new vocations for widely distributed commercially successful products, now obsolete. Imagine the commercial and environmental benefits of giving new life to such products and the enthusiasm that this would generate amongst a virtual community of designers and users."

Participatory Design is a new term to me, seeming almost synonymous with Co-design.

The whole idea looks pretty well thought out to me, and I appreciate the simple premise for the competition and user collaboration. Hopefully will get involved before the end of June.

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