Pacemaker pacemaker


22 August 2012

A backroom product of blablabLAB

It is an unknown when an electronic device will stop working. In most cases we can live with this mystery, but in some cases the uncertainty is greater because the user’s life is at the mercy of the obsolescence of the device.
Pacemakers, like all devices, have a useful life, although in these cases obsolescence is an exception, offering certain guarantees of durability and control in exchange, albeit at a very high price.
Their exceptionality is based on the fact that it is literally a matter of life or death. For this reason, pacemakers have safety mechanisms that warn the user of the state of the device, which is why extrapolating the concept of programmed obsolescence to this device is ridiculous, although it is not the case for 99% of the rest of our consumer devices.

The device is placed just above the pacemaker and by means of an electric piezo connected to an Arduino, its pulsations are captured by vibration. If after 5 seconds these are not detected, the Arduino activates a solenoid that sends pulses to the pacemaker so that it sends pulses to the heart, at the same time as the red warning light flashes with the cadence of the assisted heartbeat.

Product of the line [increased obsolescence].
“The determination, planning or scheduling of the end of the useful life of a product or service so that – after a period of time calculated in advance by the manufacturer or service company during the design phase of that product or service – it becomes obsolete, non-functional, useless or unserviceable is called planned obsolescence or planned obsolescence.” Wikipedia.

While for millennia we have managed to produce consumables with excellent performance, many of those produced today intentionally circumvent shelf life as a consumer right.
The foundation of today’s consumer system is condensed in this line of design. The hyper-consumerist nature of today’s capitalism rebels through these ubiquitous products on a daily basis. It also transfers to the product, in its most material and formal scales, the unsustainable nature that this form of production-consumption projects on a global scale and in the medium term. There are numerous black spots where the detritus of this non-circulatory practice is condensed: nuclear waste dumps, oceanic macro-bags of plastic waste, electro-dumps of developed countries in underdeveloped countries, illegal dumping…

This form of production also acquires a self-propagating component under the idio-syncrasy of the laws of the free market, which extends and emphasises them.
Printers that stop working after a certain number of prints, light bulbs that blow out earlier and earlier, extremely fragile devices, etc. The day is probably not far off when real estate will also be traded under this market strategy.
[augmented obsolescence] aims to explore this condition from a non-commercial point of view.
A priori, several heuristic practices are proposed from which to generate a prospective analysis, altering the life of objects to the point of absurdity, re-contextualising certain designs or behaviours, through mixtures of these, etc.
[augmented obsolescences] proposes an artistic view – analytical, critical, ironic – of a phenomenon that is as common and widespread as it is little known by consumers.