Last Friday, SmartPlanet offered you an exclusive sneak peak at the Museum of Modern Art's "Talk to Me" show about the intersection of the utility and emotional connection of real-world user interfaces.
One of the projects on display at the show is called "Backtalk" and it details the journey that electronic waste -- "e-waste" -- takes before it arrives at its final destination.
We all know in the back of our minds that the obsolete cell phones and laptops in a tech-forward nation like the U.S. may end up in a landfill in a developing nation far away -- but do we really know where it all goes?
Turns out we do -- at least when those devices are reused and not disassembled for parts.
The folks at MIT's Senseable City Lab took 40 laptops that were dropped in urban e-waste disposal centers or donated to developing nations and installed on them Prey tracking technology to track their whereabouts.
What ensued was the surprising journey that these devices take before they arrive at their final destinations.
In a video, see how the researchers injected a little life into digital refuse:
Illustration: MIT Senseable City Lab
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Video: Fighting e-waste with recyclable laptops
- Video: The real cost of e-waste
- E-waste-ing away
- CloudBlue CEO Ken Beyer: Bringing transparency, accountability to e-waste
- Best Buy experiments with answer to growing electronic waste dilemma
- An ATM to buy your old iPhone
- The Call2Recycle unwanted cell phones could be louder
- Survey: Municipalities support sustainability strategy in principle, not practice
- Photo Gallery: 'Demanufacturing' e-waste for profit