Fact or fiction: By 2025, all of the electronics you buy will be customizable. Everything you purchase to plug in (or however we’re powering up things in 11 years) at home will have your personal fingerprint on it. And that’s just the stuff that you’re not printing out yourself at-home — feel me?
Two Innovation Design Engineering students at the Royal College of Art created a system that will help us press FF on our electronic shopping plans a decade from now and sneak a peek at a hopeful future. It’s called O.System and their first “product” is a prototype for printable speakers (above) that look pretty darn gorgeous to us. This isn’t just a project meant to stoke your Bose wishes and Sonos dreams, O.System plans to change the way we shop and consume with hopes to have an even bigger benefit for the environment.
When you want an electronic, like O.System’s sweet speakers, you’ll log on to their site, which features a database of designs on the “O.cloud.” You tinker around and choose exactly what you want. Your next step is to visit your friendly neighborhood O.store, which doubles as a micro-manufacturing center where technicians assist you in future personalization. Think of it like a very souped up Genius Bar that will do more than just let you choose what color you want your gadget to be. Although you’ll likely be able to do that too — O.System expects to use methods like 3D printing, laser cutting or acid etching to create their goods.
With O.System, you, the shopper will have a say in how your electronics are made down to the bits, bolts and bytes of each one. Parts will be customizable and manufactured at low costs so only what’s ordered is made. This means no surplus for us, none for the manufacturer and a big dent in the e-waste we’re filling our landfills with currently. If there is an important update on a product, the component will be mailed to you and you can recycle the old one at your local O.store.
These speakers were made using laser sintering in nylon with a design that uses minimal materials for easy modification later. Circuits are printed onto thin polyester film and the interactive surfaces (buttons to control volume, tracks, record — whatever you want! You get to customize after all.) were made using a copper plating process. The speakers and the buttons you selected for it would be able to stick to any surface around your home, giving you easy-to-mount speakers in any/every room.
Gone will be the days of buying bulky electronics that top our wish list one Xmas and are sitting curbside in a couple years in exchange for bigger/better or smaller/sleeker. In their place is a shopping spree scenario where you can make, customize and outfit your home in beautiful design that’s affordable and exactly what you want. While O.System is just an idea for now, it’s a killer one we hope catches on well before 2025.
What do you think of O.System — is it the wave of the future? Can you imagine all of our electronics being bought in this way? Share below!