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A Toaster for Life: using design fiction to facilitate discussion on the creation of a sustainable Internet Of Things

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This paper presents a design fiction created by the author – the Toaster For Life. The design is an initial prototype that seeks to embody Sterling’s concept of spimes which when viewed simply, are a class of near future, sustainable, manufactured objects designed to make the implicit impacts of a technological product’s entire lifecycle more explicit to its potential users. This paper argues that when properly understood, spimes act as a rhetorical device that can be used as a lens through which designers can speculate and reflect upon sustainable technological product futures whilst also critiquing the unsustainable production and consumption practices that define our current lifestyles. To make this case, the paper contextualises the Toaster For Life in relation to the spimes concept, the unsustainability of Internet of Things products and sustainable design praxis; and reflects upon the design fiction methodology used to highlight the potential benefits of such an approach.

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