Smart Citizens Lab workshop #2: 'phonvert', to ideate alternative usage of old smartphones

So you bought the new iPhone. What do you do with the old one?

As big corporations create new models of smartphones each year, many capable yet less desirable retired smartphones pile up. While many of these still work and have usable sensors, most of them remain unused or worse yet, end up in landfills.

Let us “phonvert” retired smartphones.

Through spreading the word “phonvert”, which is a made up word that combines phone and convert, Tomo Kihara* is urging people around the world to find alternative usages for old phones. From a microscope for smart diagnostics in Uganda to an earthquake monitor in Japan, new phonvert ideas are being developed around the world.

Exploring the potential of combining old smartphone with cloud based AI.

In this Smart Citizens Lab workshop we will work in small groups to think together on how to phonvert in various social contexts. Each group will be working with an old smartphone in which data from multiple sensors are visible. The phone also a has visual recognition system to detect objects through a cloud based AI system. Through this workshop we also address the impact and ethical implications of an AI running on an old smartphone. Bring your old smartphone, if you have one.

* Tomo Kihara - Design researcher from Tokyo and the founder of project phonvert currently works as an intern at Waag.

Entrance is free, please register below.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 709443.


Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4, 1012 CR Amsterdam