Sean Harkin

Devices for Hyper-Polluted Futures

What types of devices and technologies would humanity need to survive in hyper-polluted futures?

Approaching this question from a perspective of Speculative Design, my thesis work aimed to highlight the consequences of our actions and inactions on climate change and show a world in which we have failed to address the issues of air pollution and global warming. Following a hybrid methodology created from a mixed methods approach, the research was conducted through an iterative process. Throughout the research, there was an increasing focus on the symbiotic relationship between the user and their ecosystem, and how one protects and provides for the other. The result of the work is a speculative wearable device which relies on James Auger’s theory of perceptual bridges in order to help build a believable and relatable future for the viewer.


The Personal Ecosystem Respirator Apparatus (PERA) is a wearable device which would allow the user to breath ambient air in toxic environments. The PERA contains a micro-ecosystem which recycles the toxic ambient air, into clean, breathable air for the user. The user relies on this device in order to live their day-to-day life without considerable damage to their health.

Although the PERA was one of the main outcomes of the research, other types of devices utilizing different technologies were designed. Below there are two examples: the first based on a CO2 extraction technology and the second utilizes the recycling properties of an algae farm in a wearable form.

The entirety of this work can be found here.

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