Video: The Voltron of Laptops Fights E-Waste
Engel-Hall knows whereof he speaks, having spent the last nine months as part of a team of mechanical engineering students from Stanford University and Finland's Aalto University researching the problem of e-waste. Sponsored by the design software firm Autodesk, the students spent nine months researching, prototyping, and conducting user tests with the goal of making electronics recycling a simpler, more effective, and more engaging process for consumers with the goal of reducing the amount of e-waste that goes to landfills.
"Our culture of more, more, faster, faster, smaller-cooler-gadgets is not showing any signs of letting up," says Engel-Hall. "So something needs to be done…[and that’s] where we come in. If our team can develop a more recyclable electronic device then we can take what we learned from that experience and share that 'recyclable design' wisdom with others and hopefully inspire people to pick up where we left off."
That's what the enterprising group has done with Bloom, a prototype laptop computer made possible in part by Autodesk's modeling software, and designed so that its user can easily disassemble it without any tools in just 30 seconds (part of the process is shown in the photos here). The LCD, motherboard, and battery easily separate and can be place inside a prepaid envelope hidden behind the screen and mailed to a specialized recycling facility. The rest of the computer can be tossed in the average household recycling bin.