Interaction Design Institute Ivrea      Projects Menu see personal portfolio at
 Thesis  Project :: Mobile.seed      
<< back    
    how could it become real?
Thesis Paper


The first question to be answered in order to know if this scenario could become true or not is the feasibility of a fully biodegradable mobile phone. For this purpose, a research on the current materials used in the mobile phone was done. Further more, it is important to preview how the product would be launched in the market and what it would change in the relationship between the consumer and the device.


Contents of this page

feasibility of the idea

how would be the product
launched in the market?

changes in the relationship between the consumer
and the device









































More than half (65%) of the discarded mobile phones are kept at home in drawers.



:: feasibility of the idea
A research on the current materials used in the mobile phone was done. These materials were categorized accordingly to their toxicity to the environment. Then, possible materials, already available or under research, that could substitute the toxic ones were listed. The resume of this stage can be seen in the table below:

Table with the current materials used for a mobile phone and the possible alternatives towards a fully biodegradable device. Click on it to enlarge.

With this information and stipulating a reasonable time for the commercial availability of these materials, intermediate stages before the launch of the fully biodegradable mobile phone were planned. Check the table bellow:

Possible intermediate stages related to new materials availability before the launch of a fully biodegradable mobile phone.


In the following figure we can see a comparison between the current life-cycle of a mobile phone and the proposed life-cycle of the Mobile.Seed. It is important to underline that the ‘use’ stage is kept the same in both cycles.

Differences in the product life cycle between the current mobile phone and the Mobile.seed.

:: how would be the product launched in the market?
It would become true in small steps. As an exercise for this launching process, I created a company called Ecotech, and looked at the development of this product from now, starting with simple achievements and keeping the ideology until the final goal, a fully biodegradable phone.

The full story can be found in the appendix of the pdf thesis paper, in “A New Company”.

The hypothetical company is a syndicated company of the MetaSystems Group, which had a strong tradition in high end communication and network systems, and the Matogrosso Group, which had ties with the chemistry and agro-industrial sector. The company’s objective was to develop communication devices that had a low environmental impact, using raw materials of agricultural origin. The process passes through scientific developments, patents, joint ventures and diverse communication strategies, until November of 2025, when the Mobile.seed is launched in the market.

Mobile.Seed stand made for the IDII exhibition in June 2004.



:: changes in the relationship between the consumer
and the device

Besides the necessary marketing strategy and advertising campaigns, it is valuable to speculate how the consumers would react to the product and how they would abuse of its original functioning.

For this purpose, a short illustration video was done, called “New eyes”. The story is used to visualize possible new interactions with the mobile phone due the re-design of its end-of-life and also to show a possible situation in which a skeptical observer could become motivated to engage in the idea.

The narrative starts with a Mobile.seed spot in the TV and then continues with the protagonist walking through the city, going to visit some friends. By his way, he see people planting a mobile phone in public squares, teenagers with the new cool model and a guy giving the old phone to his dog to bury it. He has a very skeptical behaviour in the beginning, but after the experiences that he witnesses by the path and the visits to his friends, he starts to change his perception of the situation.The first friend does a kind of mystical ritual with the personal phone. With the second friend, at the end, he joins a little girl in an innocent and playful discard of the Mobile.seed, and attends to the spreading out process of the idea.

This movie can be seen in the video scenarios page.

Click to go to the video scenarios pageClick to go to the video scenarios page
Frames of the movie. A truck illustrating new possible services related with the product. Next, an example of other uses beyond the obvious one, with a dog having fun burying a phone.

In this scena
rio, flowers can become disputed brand icons, and some new business models could appear, mixing technology and gardening for example. For people that don't have space at home or don't want to take care of a plant, there would be available public gardens, sponsored by telephone companies.

Another important aspect for the spreading of the idea would be the 'balcony communication', where the flower could become a symbol of "I support this ideology" and at the same time a physical display of the usually hidden scale of the amount of devices discarded.

To think in how the mobile.seed would develop or be accepted in a fictional market, it was necessary to create future scenarios according to different trends and uncertainties of our current reality and related with the topic of the thesis. These scenarios, the axis of uncertainties and possible trends can be seen in the page Scenarios, and furthermore in details in the thesis paper.


Check how the Mobile.seed would be accepted
accordingly to different possible future scenarios.



Interaction Design Institute Ivrea    Projects Menu see personal portfolio at