Stanford students design laptop that breaks apart easily to aid recycling

Stanford students design laptop that breaks apart easily to aid recycling

Summary: If you want to take a look at a radical notebook design, feast your eyes on the Bloom laptop, a prototype that Stanford students designed to make it easier -- much easier -- to disassemble and recycle.The impetus for the project is the fact that laptops are tightly assembled with screws and other adhesives keeping everything fitting together, which makes it difficult to break them down into their recyclable materials.

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If you want to take a look at a radical notebook design, feast your eyes on the Bloom laptop, a prototype that Stanford students designed to make it easier -- much easier -- to disassemble and recycle.

The impetus for the project is the fact that laptops are tightly assembled with screws and other adhesives keeping everything fitting together, which makes it difficult to break them down into their recyclable materials. The Bloom notebook features a 3D-printed plastic case with just a pair of knobs that opens up the system to let you easily remove the motherboard, battery, and other components. In a clever touch, a postage-paid envelope that resides behind the display is provided so you can send the parts to a recycling facility. You can then chuck the case in with your other plastic recyclables.

You can probably imagine -- as is the case with many "green" products -- that you'd make some sacrifices for a design like the Bloom laptop. Top-performing components wouldn't be the best fit since it's unclear how well the plastic case could stand up to the additional heat. The prototype is also slightly larger and heavier than an average laptop, so this isn't slim and sleek like a MacBook Air. But one advantage the design offers over typical notebooks is that the keyboard is detachable.

As you might suspect, there are no plans to bring the Bloom design to market, so the best we can hope for is that laptop manufacturers find inspiration from the prototype and try to integrate some of its ingenuity into their future notebook PCs.

[Via Technology Review]

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility

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8 comments
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  • RE: Stanford students design laptop that breaks apart easily to aid recycling

    stupid
    travis.duffy@...
    • Huh??? Create a functional laptop that is green, what could be wrong with

      that?? It may take more work to get it more practical, but this kind of research is great. Do you have ANY idea how much electronic waste we create every year in this country???
      DonnieBoy
  • Wow, great idea. It would also be easier to service a laptop as well.

    It would be great if Google hired the group to design Arm based ChromeOS laptops.
    DonnieBoy
    • Why. I'm guessing there won't be enough sold

      to merit any worry about the environement. Anyway, it'll probally just fall apart on it's own without any need to design it to do so. :)
      John Zern
      • I am not sure what the flippant remarks about easily recycled computers is

        about. Sure it has to stay together to be practical, but, research into how to make easily recycled computers is a very GOOD thing.
        DonnieBoy
      • You'll have to forgive John Zern

        He lives in the middle of an electronic landfill. Which explains why he has cadmium on the brain.

        lol... :D
        ahh so
  • Great!

    Now we BRAG about obsolecense by design!
    :-(
    kd5auq
    • Like it or not, laptop computers have a limited technology life, and need

      to be recycled at the end of their life. These computers would of course be designed to last as long as others that are currently NOT easy to recycle.
      DonnieBoy