Every year, households in Britain throw out two million tonnes of waste electronic products. A few of them are taken back for dis-assembly by the manufacturer, some go in the bin, and others are exported. But what if you could those secondhand laptops and tablets could keep communicating? What if, like trackers attached to the legs of birds, they could tell you where they had ended up?
In 2011 the SENSEable City Lab at MIT hatched an idea to fit laptops bound for recycling with a little programme that would periodically send a webcam image and location, along with a sticker explaining the programme on the case of the laptop. The equipment left the docks at Seattle and ended up all over the world, and all these interesting people and places turned up in reply: