Want to get in on the repurposed-trash design act? Maybe you read a big story about DIY engineering, or maybe you just want a Ke$ha-inspired "garbage-can chic" furniture set for your living room. Either way, three new product-design ideas mean the kludge is not just for nerds anymore--hacking has gone mainstream. So print out a Repair Manifesto, grab the duct tape, and get to work.
1. Makedo connector system. We gave you a heads-up on the Australian company Makedo back in July, but their Lego-like building system is now on sale (and selling out fast--hurry and get yours). Makedo is a set of joints and fasteners you can stick into pretty much anything thin enough to poke a hole in--cardboard boxes are the obvious choice--and use to connect bits of trash together into sculptures and furniture. It's brilliant in its simplicity: just a few pieces of plastic turns a pile of recycling into raw materials.
2. Sugru. Silly putty for grown-ups: Sugru is so cool, it almost feels like a hoax. Invented by RCA student Jane ní Dhulchaointigh, Sugru is a moldable goo that hardens into a solid but flexible putty. It's heatproof, waterproof, dishwasher-safe, and sticks to everything: metal, ceramic, glass, plastic... Fix that cracked dish, make a better grip for your bike's handlebars, patch a broken rainboot. Imagine the possibilities! Or just check out dozens of 'em on Sugru's site. The best thing about Sugru, though, is that it makes no effort to blend in--it's flashy and bright colored, so you can wear your hack like a badge of honor.
3. Matt Brown's Night Horses. Matt Brown takes worthless thrift-store junk, like these plastic horses he bought in Sweden for two bucks, and re-imagines them as bizarre, failed product lines. The horses become "Night Horses: Powerful Masters from the Future with the Strength of a Horse and the Mind of a Man." A set of cheap-o matchbox cars will become "Throttle Dukes." It's basically the idea behind Significant Objects (where I heard about it in the first place): reinventing trash by giving it a new story. It's the most low-tech hack there is--no magic putty needed.