Upcycling old cellphones

01. Intro

Upcycling old cellphones

An average cellphone user changes cellphone once every 18th month. A large fraction of used phones ends up in some- one’s bedside drawer and never see the light of day again. In total 1,5 billion mobile phones are sold each year. This means that a lot of valuable phones stay unused or go to waste. In the search for a new application for these old cellphones we’ve developed the Sensei concept that reuses components from phones that would otherwise go to material recycling.

02. Info


Vinnova, Sony, Belmont Trading, Telenor


Industrial design

03. Challenge

Finding a useful application

The challenge we faced was to find a way to re-use the phones and the components they contain for something useful. We believe this could save a bunch of components and also reduce the carbon footprint for the phone itself. How can we put the old phones to use and create a more circular economy while we are at it?

04. Solution

Sensei - Sensitive, Reactive & Poetic

Sensei is a new type of device that can be used to sense and react to different triggers in the environment around it. Stretch cords allows you to position it pretty much anywhere and it’s built to be portable, durable and exprimental.
Sensors such as accelerometers, gyros, microphones and gps are constantly active and sensing. When Sensei has triggered it reacts in the way you tell it to, sending you notifications or posting images to instagram, it’s really up to you. The feed shows you what is happening in realtime. You can always access the camera and microphone to know what’s happening.

While we are trying to use old mobile phones to build the inner parts of the Sensei, the outer parts are also constructed in a recycled polypropylene and wood fibre mix. Not only is it good for the environment, it is also extremely tactile and strong.

05. Result

It’s up to you

By constantly monitoring sounds, video, movement and position Sensei can trigger a number of different action, it’s really up to you what you want it to do. You could use it as a really advanced baby monitor by attaching it to the crib and get notifications when ever the lovely little thing makes a sound or moves. Use the camera to view what ever is happening. Or place it in your home to get warnings if something unexpected happens, place it in your boat or on your bike to get warnings if it moves when it shouldn’t. Do you want to know how many hours a night you sleep or want to know what you say during your nightly dream sessions? Let Sensei help you in track basic data such as movement, acceleration, sound, video or anything else. The possibilities are endless.

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