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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSC)

Sandeep "Sandy" Hoonjan

Hello, 👋 I'm Sandy.

I'm a designer applying my previous practice as a biological/computer scientist and engineer, to create future scenarios and the strategies to get there.

Before studying at the RCA I worked as an engineer in the medical robotics industry, and as a VR neurorehabilitation researcher at the NII Tokyo.

Since joining the RCA, My design work has spanned from the creation of reactive artefacts to critique of historic childhood resilience programs. My speculative design work has been published internationally and is currently being shown at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam.

Apart from speculative design, my main areas of interest are in complex systems, uncanny interactions and open source hardware.

In the following project, I touch on all four. 

How do you make an iPhone last 180 years? And what would we, it, and the systems around it look like? We live in an age of extreme waste, where the computational device is disposable by it's nature. Yet also, the state of electronics manufacturing in 2021 brings us to a moment of great opportunity for change. We are in the midst of a global chip shortage, at a crossroads for the traditional model of Moore's law, and experiencing significant fragility in consumer ecosystems.

In this work, a future is synthesised in which the Computational Heirloom is a common possession for the everyday person in the UK. These heirlooms are devices, of similar function to the laptop and smartphone of today, that defy obsolescence to the extent that they are passed down multiple human generations. And more, they are not put on a dark shelf or in a bank lockbox, but used everyday for the mundane and extraordinary.

The decisions of this future are based in analysis of the intertwining complex systems at play. They form non-linear routes through the manufacturing technicalities, policy, desire, and business models of the agents within them.

Unlike traditional functional heirlooms like a Rolex wristwatch, computational devices are far from timeless. In order to perform the most desirable functions of the time, they must be morphable, adaptable, maintainable to adjust to changing needs. This is feasibly achieved through open standards (right); that give both the user and producer companies of computational heirlooms and their parts, the agency needed to work with diversity in form, function, and architecture.

In order to feasibly manage this in a UK context, an executive agency is proposed, that safeguards registration, licensing and standards; and what happens when your CH (computational heirloom) becomes an insurance write-off?

In determining the economies computational heirlooms could exist in, a novel model for desire was proposed: the "cyber-agent" (top).

The ecosystems of today (bottom left) and that of these novel agents (bottom right) are proposed. Here, Eric Von Hippel's free innovation paradigm is taken to its extreme. In this system, user innovation is an overwhelmingly popular task, and dependency on producer companies is largely in manufacture alone.

The process used is experimental and intentionally non-linear, to capture as much detail as possible from the complex systems involved.

It begins with an audit, from which scenario plans are made. Models are then generated to prove the scenarios, and these fed into design fiction, which then loops back to re-inform the scenarios.

This process has been very successful, as it's looping nature creates greater detail with each cycle. This detail is then helpful to inform real-world strategy, and increase certainty in any scenario. However, the usage of models must be approached with caution, as they can deceive with terrible consequence if not properly validated.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851