Cutting E-Waste with Modular Consumer Electronics

Nascent Objects provides people with the opportunity to design and reuse modular electronics, giving hardware a much longer shelf life.

Nascent Objects is a platform and marketplace for modular electronics creation. The company discovered that about 80% of consumer electronics consist of the same 15 interchangeable parts, or modules. This sparked them to create a system through which separate modular pieces of a device, such as a camera or speaker, can be replaced without needing to buy an entirely new product. To give these modules a home, Nascent Objects’ software calculates the object’s shape and circuits, and uses 3D-printing to create the frame or shell. The user then simply inserts the modules into the shell, and the product is ready for use.

The platform’s 15 interchangeable modules enable customization, upgradability, and reusability. Offering services for consumers as well as product developers, Nascent Objects prolongs the shelf life of reusable parts and challenges the established business model for the electronics industry.

Relevance of solution

As consumer technologies continuously evolve, electronic waste keeps piling up, reaching 41.8 million metric tons globally in 2014.1 By providing a platform for modules to be reused across an array of devices, Nascent Objects is changing the course of production and consumption and reducing our need to dispose of so many electronic devices.

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

Globally, 30 to 50 million tons of electronic devices are tossed away every year.2 This solution can reduce e-waste by leveraging modularity and enabling reusability.

Social

In addition to selling their own products, Nascent Object’s novel platform gives new, front-running entrepreneurs a platform on which to develop their modular technologies.

Economic

E-waste represents $52 billion of potentially reusable resources.3 By reducing this waste, Nascent Objects prevents not only wasted materials but wasted money.


Sources

  1. United Nations University. “Global E-Waste Volume Hits New Peak in 2014: UNU Report.” (2015)
  2. Morgan, K. “Is There a Future for E-waste Recycling? Yes, and it’s Worth Billions.” Elsevier. (2015)
  3. United Nations University. “Global E-Waste Volume Hits New Peak in 2014: UNU Report.” (2015)