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How do tablets break? Help us find out!

Today we’re launching “TabiCat”, a fun opportunity to collaboratively analyse data on  over 900 tablets brought to repair events around the world. The data comes from our own Restart Parties, as well as datasets from other organisations: anstiftung, Fixit Clinic, Repair Cafe Foundation and Repair Cafe Wales. It is collected and published as part of the Open Repair Alliance.

By analysing the data, we can learn more about the devices – including insights to help push Right to Repair regulation in Europe, the UK and beyond.

How you can get involved

Head over to TabiCat and join the investigation. You’ll be presented with information about a broken tablet and you’ll be able to select the most appropriate fault from a comprehensive list. Once you’ve selected an option, you’ll be presented with information on another tablet. The more tablet faults you can categorise, the more we learn! TabiCat shows each tablet to up to three people to help confirm the right fault category. If you want to learn more and provide feedback on your experience with TabiCat, you can join a conversation about it here.

Try TabiCat

Why are we focusing on tablets? 

There’s no regulation on tablets’ repairability anywhere in the world. However, the EU is working on ecodesign measures to apply to both smartphones and tablets. This is a great opportunity to bring the perspective of real people attempting to repair devices at community repair events.

The draft regulation we have seen doesn’t include access to most spare parts or repair information for community repair initiatives as well as consumers. And we know that manufacturers will do all they can to further reduce requirements to make spare parts available at all.

What we hope to achieve

By analysing our data on tablets, we can make the case for long-term support for tablets – including availability of spare parts. Our insights can help explain that plenty of people would like to keep their existing devices working for longer, and repair them when needed.

We need your help now, to help us complete TabiCat by the end of June. This will allow us to submit in July our evidence to the public consultation on smartphones and tablets recently launched by the European Commission. And we hope progress at European level will also help push for ambitious regulation in the UK.

TabiCat is the second in a series of three microtasks we’re running as part of our participation in the ACTION accelerator, engaging citizen scientists with open data. Over the next few months, there will be more opportunities to analyse data collected at repair events – so if you enjoy TabiCat, stay in touch for more! You can also still help us complete our first microtask on printers –  PrintCat.


We are hugely grateful to to The ACTION (Participatory science toolkit against pollution) project for funding this work and for their support.


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824603. This blog post reflects the author’s views. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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