The question of acceptable DRM (Digital Rights Management) to combat piracy has been a hot-button issue with software consumers for years, with the most recent controversy arising from last week's SimCity release. But what if the concept of disabling a product after certain conditions are met wasn't just restricted to digital goods? That's the idea that a design team in Switzerland decided to explore with the "DRM Chair," a piece of furniture rigged to fall apart after being sat on eight times.
After an initial attempt involving charges made of gunpowder proved to be ineffective (and dangerous), the team settled on a design with each piece of the wooden chair held together using wax joints fitted with nichrome wire.
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An Arduino-based mechanism attached to a contact switch keeps track of how many times someone sits on it and knocks on the wood each time they get up, indicating the number of uses left. After eight people have sat on it, the mechanism triggers a self-destruct system, which heats the wire until each joint melts and breaks away.
The DRM Chair was constructed by Les Sugus, a group consisting of former and current students of the ECAL design school in Switzerland. The team built the chair over a period of 48 hours as part of The Deconstruction, a competition aimed at fostering creativity and collaboration.
Check out the video below to watch the DRM Chair slowly collapse after reaching eight uses.