Dell has unveiled a number of concepts this week, and among the more useful and likely is its Concept Pari, a Wi-Fi-powered webcam that is able to stick on to a monitor, and allow the user to maintain proper eye contact when on a video call.
"After countless mockups featuring flashlights, adhesives, suction cups, and magnets later, Concept Pari was created," Dell Technologies client solutions group CTO Glen Robson said in a blog post.
"It can be placed directly -- anywhere -- on compatible displays, in a charging dock, on a stand, or even held in the hand."
Dell did not expand on the compatible monitors, but presumably it would involve magnetic backings. The company also showed off the camera being attached to a metallic arm to allow viewing of objects from above.
The 30 gram webcam delivers 1080p video, has a USB-C dock for wireless charging, and the camera can be placed in it backwards to ensure the user is not sneakily, or via stupid user error, being looked at.
For Concept Flow, Dell returned to the heady days of a decade ago when the likes of Intel were pushing wireless power and wireless monitor connectivity.
"Imagine walking up to an intelligent workspace where your laptop automatically connects to the displays, mouse, keyboard, and your trusted network before you've sat down. You are ready to pick up exactly where you last left off," Robson said.
"Simultaneously, as you place your laptop down, it receives power wirelessly (no more fumbling for cords or awkwardly crawling under desks!). And when you're ready to move to your next location, Concept Flow's proximity detection feature disconnects you automatically when you leave. That transition between spaces becomes frictionless."
Dell also previewed Concept Stanza, an 11-inch tablet for note-taking that is without cameras or speakers, but does have a pen and microphone for transcribing, and double-tapping on Stanza converts handwriting to text.
As design concepts, there is no guarantee any of the ideas will make their way into production.
Earlier this week, Dell showed off Concept Luna, an effort to reduce waste and make laptops more sustainable. Should the concept design ever come to fruition, Dell thinks it would reduce product carbon footprints by 50%, thanks to a 75% smaller motherboard, and number of components reduced by 20%.
The Concept Luna device's motherboard is placed behind the display, giving better cooling due to being "a larger surface area exposed to the cooler air outside" and being away from the batteries. Potentially, this could eliminate a fan to cool the motherboard, Dell said.
Through standardised harvestable parts and modules, having the system held together by four screws and using two keystones instead of adhesives to keep parts in place, Dell hopes it could lead to improved reuse, and potentially multiple lives for laptops.
"Proving what might be possible is only the first step, the next is to take these innovative sustainable design ideas and evaluate which have the greatest potential to scale across our product portfolio," Robson said.
"This concept, and future iterations and others that follow, are how we will build on the existing circular economy leadership you see across our product portfolio today to examine, re-examine, and reconsider every step of the product lifecycle, to deliver even more sustainable products in the future."