Dominic Muren writes and lectures on industrial and interaction design at the University of Washington. He founded the popular industrial design blog IDFuel.com, and served as a contributing writer for Treehugger.com â€“ dubbed â€œThe Green CNNâ€ â€“ for more than 5 years. His writing explores the interconnections between designed objects, the environment, and society â€“ the tricky, complicated factors that make products "work" within different systems. His most recent book "Green's Not Black & White: The balanced guide to making eco-decisions" has been reprinted in 6 languages. His latest project, Humblefacture.com, explores new opportunities for more environmentally, socially, and functionally positive manufacturing by bringing factories down to a local, accessible scale. In addition to his writing and teaching, Dominic is an award winning industrial designer, and principle of The Humblefactory, a design consultancy in Seattle, Washington with a works-in-progress blog at Humblefactory.com.
He attended TED Global 2010 for the first time as a fellow.
TED Fellows Retreat 2013, TEDGlobal 2010
Areas of Expertise
Product Design & Development, Materials, Open Innovation
An idea worth spreading
Consumer electronics benefit from over 100 years of manufacturing advancement. Yet they are frustratingly un-customizable, sport laughably short lifetimes, and become toxic waste when they die. These problems come, not from the devices themselves, but with flaws in the way that manufacturing creates the illusion of choice through overproduction, and low cost through reduced durability. Â The Skin-Skeleton-Guts (SSG) Open Framework offers an alternative model for product creation which addresses these problems. By combining modular design with open, shareable design specifications, and using flexible, low cost machines for fabrication, SSG gives local manufacturing control back to users of products, while enabling faster innovation and lower overall costs.Â
I'm passionate about
I want to understand the consequences of the way we make our material world Then I want to change the way we make objects so that these consequences align with our collective desires.
Talk to me about
Making, Electronics, Creative Commons, Sewing Machines, Cooking, Gardening, Rock Collecting, blogging, appropriate technology
People don't know I'm good at
Rock collecting. Growing up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, a place with a low population, but a rich geologic history, there wasn't much else for me to do but drive around digging up agates.
My TED story
I'm at TED as a fellow, hoping to spark just enough interest in real, useful open products to nudge the juggernaut that is manufacturing onto tracks that lead to a more open, flexible, useful marketplace of products. I think TED is the perfect place for this to happen, because I don't need to convince everyone that open products are the future. I only need to convince enough people to form a niche within the market -- once there is a bloc of users willing to pay to keep the value they have invested in electronic products (or any object) then large-scale manufacturers will be lead by their bottom lines to join the party. I'm hoping that TED represents a group of people imaginative enough to see past the early, kludgy, ENIAC-sized present of open devices to a future which is almost unimaginably awesome. Whether this makes sense or not, I'd love to hear what you think -- come find me.