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The Unboxing Tech Toolkit: The Materiality of the Smartphone

May 2023

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The Unboxing Tech Toolkit is a guide to understanding your smartphone better. While invented only thirty years ago, the smartphone today impacts all aspects of our life. This toolkit will help you deconstruct the single unified notion of a smartphone and  understand- where your smartphone comes from, who all are involved in the making of it, what is it made up of, and finally, where does it go once you dispose of it. This toolkit will help map material flows related to smartphones. 

Why this toolkit?

This toolkit exposes youth to the material perspective on the smartphone using the metaframe of BUY-USE-DISPOSE the three ways in which we commonly interact with devices. The final goal is to increase awareness and encourage more sustainable, conscious technology choices.

Key Concepts

Materiality, Supply Chains, Mineral extraction and ecosystem impacts, Rare earths and precious metals, 3GT, Global Manufacturing hubs, Planned and Perceived Obsolescence, Recycling,  Sustainable materials, Replaceability assessment, Conscious consumer behaviour, Anthropocentrism and Planetary Futures.

The Unboxing Tech Toolkit: The Design did it, not me!

December 2021

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The Unboxing Tech toolkit is a guide to understanding your smartphone better. The smartphone was invented only 30 years ago, and today it impacts almost all parts of our life. It has transformed how we connect, work, make friends, entertain ourselves, and how we sleep and eat.

Why this toolkit?

Designed with and for young people, this toolkit offers playful and interactive activities to understand how 'dark patterns' can tune our behavior, emotions, and attention. Most importantly, the toolkit offers simple ways for you to regain control.


At RightsCon 2022, the Unboxing Tech Toolkit: Part 1 was opened up to a larger audience as a community lab session where we explored how educators, civil society leaders, policymakers and youth experienced the toolkit, and helped the project reach out to the right audience. 

Facilitator Resources for Educators



This guide is meant for educators, teachers, parents or any individual trying to conduct the Unboxing Tech Toolkit series for youth aged between 13-18 years of age. 


The toolkits are designed to give both the facilitator and the user the freedom to use this in multiple settings. This can be part of a classroom, a course on science, a bigger project, a community space, your neighbourhood, or your home.


The Facilitator guide includes:

  • How and where to facilitate the toolkits

  • Set up, Materials and Duration plan 

  • Toolkit Objectives, Key Questions and Concepts

  • Learning Outcomes 

  • Further Engagement Activities 

  • Reading List of Additional Resources 

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