Samsung makes it easy for (almost) anyone to upcycle (some of) their old phones

Samsung makes it easy for (almost) anyone to upcycle (some of) their old phones
You've all heard of (and hopefully, routinely use some form of) recycling, but "upcycling" is a significantly lesser-known process that has a somewhat similar goal. The idea is to basically avoid throwing away seemingly useless objects or products by repurposing or altogether transforming them into something of greater practical, environmental, or artistic value.

Believe it or not, Samsung launched one such experimental Galaxy Upcycling initiative several years back, and while the project is still not incredibly advanced or elaborate, (almost) anyone can make their (small) contribution to protecting the environment straight from home now.

The aptly named Galaxy Upcycling at Home program, originally announced a few months ago, is today opening its (virtual) doors to owners of select "older" Samsung smartphones in the US, UK, and Korea. Joining couldn't be easier (literally), with the "process" merely involving accessing the SmartThings Labs feature within the SmartThings app.

Just like other SmartThings Labs projects, this is considered a beta service, so everything may not run flawlessly for the time being. Right now, the aforementioned app can repurpose your old and otherwise useless handset's built-in sensors and take advantage of an "improved AI solution" to provide "enhanced sound and light-control" capabilities.

More specifically, you can turn your Galaxy S, Note, or Z-series phone released after 2017 into an IoT (Internet of Things) device capable of detecting certain sounds of interest, as well as measure the brightness level of a predefined room.


The former's goal is for your old handset to accurately distinguish sounds in everyday surroundings and alert you when a baby is crying, a dog is barking, or someone is knocking at your front door, for instance. Meanwhile, the latter use case could come in handy to automatically turn on the lights or the TV when your room gets darker than you'd like, interacting with other devices in the SmartThings ecosystem to make your life easier.


All in all, those are some pretty specific (and one might argue rudimentary) features, but if you're not using your Galaxy S9 or Note 9 for much else these days, that sure beats simply throwing away said phones and negatively contributing to the world's growing e-waste burden.

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