Lifetime Design

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Lifetime design refers to the design of the Anthroposphere and biosphere with long-term benefit and value in mind. It is part of a Longtermism perspective. It can be applied to products, institutions, and and entire civilizations.

In products, planned obsolescence is a norm in modern economies, but it's extremely wasteful. Replacing material objects because they break requires human energy, and is one of the main reasons that the Myth of Technology runs our lives.

By introducing lifetime design - we gain at least 10x in resource efficiency - and we believe that will be the natural evolution of human economic systems once the ranks of production swell with enlightened economic actors who follow principles of lifetime design.

Lifetime design requires:

  1. Open source design - so that technology is transparent and can be fixed. Bills of materials, CAD files, build instructions must be available.
  2. Design-for-Disassembly
  3. Modular Design
  4. Design-for-Repair
  5. Use of COTS parts
  6. Local service infrastructure, such as Open Source Microfactories.

Implementation in the Technosphere

  • Steel over lumber as appropriate
  • Rock over concrete as appropriate
  • Concrete over rock as appropriate
  • Stainless steel - investing in chrome content in steel making
  • Galvanic kettles for everyone - galvanized steel
  • Self-oxidizingvaluminum as appropriate
  • 3D print recycling in plastic - 5x minimum lifetime extension
  • Thermoplastic elastimer tires - 5x longer life.
  • Induction furnace - upgrade old steel to new

Areas of Endeavor

What is lifetime design in product design? How about in biosphere design? Design of living ecosystems? Here we go through areas of endeavor and make some notes on how a lifetime design perspective is applicable.

Plant Breeding

Most plants today are designed (bred) for cloning, such as asexual propagation, or are even engineered to produce infertile seeds (terminator genes). This is short term design which has point advantages, but at the cost of high maintenance and of susceptibility to a lack of adaptation to pests, environmental conditions, etc. Cloning is non-adaptation - as offspring are identical (non-evolving). Instead, seed-based propagation is a lifetime design principle - when applied in the form of Swarm Breeding. This way, offspring retain desirable properties (such as big fruit) while remaining adaptable, such as pest-free.

Consumer Goods

All of Amazon and Ebay and Big Box stores. Instead of consumer goods, these shift into consumer durables with lifetime design via:

  • Open Design so that the inner workings are always clear and production blueprints are available digitally, for manual or automated production of replacement parts and upgrades
  • Open sector production capacity
  • Permanent part producibility
  • Modular product ecosystems for interchangeable parts
  • Upgradeability - new modules allow the product to evolve over a lifetime.

How to get there

Opening design, introducing collaborative design open source microfactories, using modularity, and enabling local service infrastructure will get us there. This relies on making design transparent, parts and blueprints available, Degeneracy, and creation of local enterprise ecosystems based on flexible fabrication, rapid augmented learning, open design, and automation.

An instance would be an open source microfactory, withembership so either you if trained or qualified staff could produce things for you on demand, quickly, from abundant modular, optimized design. Assisted with digital fabrication and advanced production capacity that starts with basic optimized tooling. Facility produces concrete, metal, glass, plastic, engines, precision parts, semiconductors from raw feedstock. Same old same old - requirement is liberated technology. No new tech needed, just reorganization of all known techics.

Warranty Examples

  • Briggs and Riley - [1] - lifetime replacement or repair. No proof of purchase needed, no questions asked.
  • Roomba - [2]
  • Free sharpening - [3]
  • Knives - for life, even if you are not the first owner - fix or replace - [4]


  • Entrepreneur magazine article - [5]. In 2005, our team hesitated before offering an unconditional lifetime guarantee; we were initially concerned that people might try to take advantage of the offer. However, we quickly saw that a request for repair or replacement was also a golden opportunity to re-engage and impress our customers. In time, our guarantee became our most valuable word-of-mouth marketing tool.


Companies and websites that sell lifetime design products:

Lifetime Design Websites

Lifetimes of Materials

Taken to Lifetime of Materials