In the present world scenario, we seem to thrive on our electronic gadgets and take pride in their possession. These gadgets are indispensable to the extent that we cannot sleep without our phones lying near us and are continuously anxious if we hear someone’s phone ringing thinking it is ours. So great is the need to possess hi-tech gadgets and even more is the urge to keep replacing them with ones that have better features, memory, lighter weight, better look and so on. This leads to a voluminous amount of e-waste or electronic waste that is being accumulated at an increasing rate. In the US, there is around 3 million tons of e-waste that is dumped on a yearly basis.
This very phenomena is the inspiration behind the M.I.T’s Senseable City Lab project called “BackTalk” that is presently showcasing what happens to all that e-waste at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. In the BackTalk project, all the redundant e-waste products adopt the role of individual reporters and record all that happens to them as they are re-used or recycled.
In order to track the items that were reused, the team from BackTalk got together with the Peace Corps, World Teach and World Computer Exchange that all donate old computers to developing countries. Around 40 such netbooks were fitted with tracking software that made recordings of all that happened and where it happened. Snapshots and updates of the surroundings of those netbooks were sent to the team – which depicted various destinations for the used gadgets such as public libraries in Kenya or classrooms in Nepal.
In order to track how the components of the various e-waste gadgets were recycled, the same kind of tracking devices were placed that enabled the team to track the journey of the individual parts to places across the US. E-waste is gradually turning into a great problem and this project – BackTalk – certainly exhibits the same and teaches the consumer to be more judicious in disposing such gadgets and to be more environmentally responsible.
Via: New York Times