A class of Stanford University graduate students recently created a prototype of a computer laptop which can much more easily be broken down for recycling than notebook computers on the market today. The Bloom laptop, as it is called, earned the students an Autodesk Inventor of the Month award for October, as the students designed the laptop concept using Autodesk software.
The students, as part of Stanford’s ME310 course, wanted to tackle a problem around e-waste that, for example, saw 1.9 to 2.2 million tons of electronics becoming obsolete in 2005, with only 345,000 to 379,000 tons of it being recycled. The task assigned to these students by their professor was to “create a recyclable consumer electronics product that makes electronics recycling a simpler, more effective and engaging process.” This laptop concept effectively does this, sporting a modular design that can easily be separated into different material types – such as plastics, metals and circuitry – for easier recycling.
It is said the Bloom laptop idea “can be disassembled in just two minutes, without tools and in just 10 steps. By comparison, a commercially available laptop takes about 45 minutes to disassemble, requires three separate tools and involves as many as 120 steps.”
Also of note with this easy-to-dissemble design is a keyboard and track pad that can be detached to allow for improved ergonomics; and also an easier process “to repair and upgrade components over the lifetime of the product, so that buying a computer is no longer a singular investment, but a longer-term relationship between the consumer and the service provider.”
“Consumer electronics waste is a significant and growing problem,” said Robert Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk, in a statement. “These students are facing that issue head-on with their innovative Bloom laptop prototype. It’s encouraging and exciting to see college students embrace Digital Prototyping to tackle the sustainability challenges of our times.”
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