Smartphone upcycling concept helps give your old companion a new lease on life

Mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets, have become an inescapable fact of modern life to the point that almost everyone has one. While they do empower people with their smart features, they unfortunately also inflict damage on the environment, whether it’s through their manufacturing or, more often than not, their improper disposal. Not all smartphone manufacturers have a well-established or easy process for owners to send back unused or broken devices for handling and responsible disposal, which means many of these end up in landfills where they eventually poison the soil and water. Some of these aren’t even totally broken just outdated or unused for one reason or another. Finding a different use for them delays their untimely demise, which is exactly what this upcycling concept tries to do, offering smartphones a better life after death.

Designer: Think Tank Team

There could be a variety of reasons for ditching an old but still functional smartphone. Some parts, like the screen, battery, or charging port might no longer be in tip-top shape, or the owner simply upgraded to a newer model that will last them another two years or so. Whatever the reason may be, it might not actually be enough to warrant simply throwing the phone in the waste bin, or even just keeping it in a drawer until it’s forgotten forever or, worse, becomes a safety hazard.

Project Afterlife tries to remedy that situation by upcycling rather than recycling the phone. This means it puts the device to a different use without actually modifying it or taking it apart, thereby using less energy, less resources, and less effort. This increases the likelihood that people will adopt this product because it is accessible and easy to use.

The product concept pretty much comes in a taco-like crescent shape made of recycled plastic and given a frosted finish. You simply slide in the phone from the opening and set it on a flat surface with its curved edge at the bottom. The shape is balanced in such a way that it will stay still unless you intentionally rock it, and that rocking motion actually affects its functions. Just like a game controller with motion sensors, tilting the phone lets you cycle through its different modes without having to touch the screen. Rocking also makes the “Endless Clock” change the clock face at every movement, while both the “Timeline” photo stream and the “Moment” abstract art display also react to such movement.

Admittedly, you can simply take that same old smartphone, put it on a stand, and use it in the same way as a clock or small photo frame. Project Afterlife, however, also transforms the phone into a kinetic art object that will enhance the ambiance of your desk or shelf. It’s a simple yet impressive example of how upcycling not only helps save the environment but even adds value to your experience.