Student Profile

Erik Contreras
MFA Design, UC Davis

Erik is an interdisciplinary designer and maker with a background in mechanical engineering and rapid prototyping. His research interest involves prolonging the lifespan of consumer electronics and IoT products. This includes: 1) promoting the Right to Repair, 2) repurposing electronic waste, and 3) designing user-interfaces that are intuitive and facilitate repair, modification, and disassembly of the products. Erik typically uses a hands-on approach towards his research and can often be found hacking obsolete pieces of technology in the Design lab or 3D printing custom parts in the Design Dept. MakerSpace. In his free time he enjoys woodworking, restoring vintage audio equipment, and cycling around Davis.

 

During his first year of research at UC Davis, Erik focused on developing a design approach for prolonging the lifespan of obsolete consumer electronics. This work involved researching Right to Repair advocacy, product life cycle analysis, and creating working prototypes from electronic waste (e-waste). From his experiences in developing these prototypes, Erik has shifted his focus towards developing user-friendly interfaces for hardware with the hopes of lowering the technical threshold for repair, modification, and disassembly for the average consumer. By incorporating user repair, modification, and disassembly in the initial design of the product, Erik hopes that the consumer products of the future will have a longer lifespan and be adaptable based on the user’s needs. The current mantra for Erik’s product design research is: “Welcoming the User Inside and Out”.

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