Produktzirkularität durch modulares Design – Strategien für langlebige Smartphones

Project: Research

Project participants

  • SHIFT GmbH


Background and Objectives:

At least 57 million people in Germany currently use a smartphone (according to Bitkom). These contain a variety of valuable metals, but also conflict raw materials. Most of the environmental impact is caused during the production of smartphones. However, the average use time is only 2 years.
Modular smartphones have the potential to reflect technical progress through upgrades, as well as to meet changing consumer needs. This enables extended use times, through which the number of devices and the associated environmental impact can be reduced. On the user side, however, they require not only acceptance and interest, but also specific usage skills – such as knowledge about repair options. The MoDeSt project investigates the technical, social and economic prerequisites for modular concepts and develops solutions for circular and socio-ecologically sound modular ICT.

Planned Results:

Identifying ecological benefits, but also possible disadvantages of modular smartphones on the basis of a well-founded life cycle assessment, deriving meaningful eco-design criteria for the further development of this product group

Development of usage biographies/typologies of modular vs. non-modular smartphones as an important input for understanding human-technology interactions

Development and testing of business models based on modular product designs in the Innovation Network for Sustainable Smartphones (INaS) together with actors from the entire value chain.

Further development of the modular concept of smartphones from the current focus on "reparability" to the goal of possible upgrades and their embedding in a modular overall system


The transdisciplinary consortium combines research and practice as well as technical and socio-scientific competencies.
The group comprises three scientific partners, Fraunhofer IZM, TU Berlin and the CSM of the Leuphana University, and two industry partners, SHIFT GmbH and AfB gGmbH.
The Institute for Integrated Quality Design (IQD) of the Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) is an associated partner in the INaS subproject.


  • Survey Data Repair Behavior of Smartphones



Research outputs