For my Sustainable Design class in Fall 2012, I was on a three-person team investigating the user-experience and analyzing the environmental impact of a cordless drill over its entire life cycle. We characterized the intentions, emotions, and values of different types of drill owners and we performed a single factor LCA to identify key areas for reduction in environmental impact. To conclude, we developed a design for an alternative drilling device for one user-type, that resulted in 5x less environmental impact than a traditional cordless drill, while improving the overall user experience.
The first phase of the project was focused on describing the essence of the experience of using a drill at home. What are the intentions and emotions of the people involved? This involved a lot of user interviews, sticky notes, and team discussions.
The goal of the second phase was to analyse the lifetime environmental impact of a cordless drill. We disassembled one, calculated the masses of each of the different materials, quantified the impact from manufacture, use, transportation, and disposal, and compared the impact to that of a corded drill.
We used our insights from our interviews and analysis to ideate several drill alternatives and upgrades, each with the potential to decrease the impact by at lest a factor of 2. We decided to go with the idea shown here which removes the power drill almost entirely.
We calculated that with the Cyclone Drill and Driver concept, the unit impact was decreased by a factor of 5 to 8.