This bracelet made from recycled iPhone home buttons is just one repurposing of the Apple handsets that Chris Koerner can't fix with LCDcycle, his phone and screen repair business.
With his recently launched Twice Used initiative, the Alabama-based business owner hopes to give new life to iPhones unfit for repair by fashioning them into art, be it jewelry and ornaments, or blending them with functioning furniture like clocks and coffee tables. His Kickstarter campaign, launched Friday, hopes to kick off the project and make it an integral part of his company.
Twice Used came about when Koerner, who owned a repair business called Phone Restore prior to founding LCDcycle, noticed that a steady percentage of iPhones that came through his stores were unfit for restoration.
"I noticed that only about 75 percent can be recycled -- the other 25 percent were just being stacked up in our warehouse," he said. That's because those unlucky devices with broken LCD portions of the screen weren't suitable for Phone Restore's process, which involves heating up the screen to remove and ultimately replace both the adhesive between the layers and the broken layers themselves.
"There are three parts to an iPhone screen: the LCD; the digitizer, which is the touch recognizer; and then there is the glass," Koerner explained. "As long as the LCD is working, it can be recycled. But you can't fix a broken LCD."
So Koerner thought to utilize the growing stack of unfixable iPhones in his warehouse after a local artist used his stash of devices to coat a University of Alabama print with shattered iPhone glass.
Of course, Twice Used is Koener and his team's way of monetizing the unfixable devices instead of sending them through Apple's Recycling Program.
But it's also a clever commentary on the utility of devices after they've lost their core functionality. "Each screen tells a story -- a story of clumsiness and everlasting remorse," Korener writes on the Kickstarter page.