Obsolescence be damned! A new startup is making consumer technology that you can actually take apart and fix

The Module Project, an Auckland-based startup making sustainable modular consumer technology products, has opened an equity crowdfunding round.

As technology advances, the planned obsolescence built into our devices means that every two years or so, we have to upgrade, just to keep apace with the newest applications.

The Module Project wants to change all that by building consumer electronics that you can take apart and easily replace batteries or repair, keeping your devices in use instead of in a landfill. And today, it has opened an equity crowdfunding round, already raising half of the minimum target within hours.

Module “is the polar opposite of conventional consumer technology products,” says Module’s managing director Ketzal Sterling. “We looked at the global consumption rate and we wanted to do something about reducing it. So we've designed longer lasting, user upgradeable, more sustainable consumer technology products.”

And Module’s first modular product is Decibel, a wireless speaker that can be taken apart with a standard Allen key. Sterling says a speaker made sense as the first product for various reasons.

“All the conventional products are glued together and therefore almost impossible to repair, so they'll become immobile quite rapidly and will end up in a landfill in a short period of time,” he says. “Speakers are not predicated on size. We're not competing on slimness. The physical properties of a speaker mean that they have to be a certain volume in order to have the interior air capacity to generate the bass we need. So because we're not competing on size, we're actually making the largest mobile wireless speaker in its category.”

Because the speaker is built to last, the design had to last just as long as the product. “We realised immediately that not only did we have to have a clean, simple design that would have longevity it would also have to be customisable," he says. "It allows us to redesign the product, to a degree, over time.”

Module already has a second product ready to go, but Sterling is tight-lipped. “Our business model is to enter numerous product categories,” he says. “We're not a phone company, a speaker company, we're a consumer technology company and we're looking to disrupt numerous product categories. But each one of those categories is a gigantic market so we don't need 100 percent market penetration to be a gigantic company.”