Gadget makers are slowly grappling with the electronic waste created by their products, and now it looks like a more sustainable future is on the horizon. Dell’s Concept Luna aims to make the company’s laptops more environmentally friendly, and in the process will also make them more repairable. While Dell hasn’t offered a timeframe for bringing Luna to life, it’s a step in the right direction.
Laptops today have super-thin designs and custom motherboards with many components, including RAM, processors, and even storage, soldered down. This makes repairing certain components difficult or sometimes impossible.
But with Concept Luna, Dell is borrowing an idea from Framework with a concept laptop that’s still quite sleek, but has parts that are easier to replace and recycle. Concept Luna looks pretty much exactly like an existing Dell laptop, but the company claims it offers a number of changes that could help the company reduce its carbon footprint by up to 50%, while also making Dell’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 more realistic.
Dell worked with Intel on Concept Luna, and the biggest change is the decreased overall size of its motherboard, which is now 75% smaller. The companies also reduced the system’s overall component count by 20%, resulting in smaller PCBs, less time needed to assemble and repair, and fewer parts in general. Concept Luna’s aluminium chassis was made in a facility that uses hydropower, further reducing the carbon footprint required to produce the system.
Dell is rethinking the entire lifecycle of the laptop and all the components inside. The company said it envisions a future where components like a laptop’s keyboard are designed to be recycled multiple times to create new keyboards on future devices.
Dell said it has reduced the total number of screws used to hold Concept Luna together by 10x, allowing easy access to internal components by removing just four exterior screws. The company also switched up the glue it uses to hold the laptop’s PCBs together to a new flax fibre-based compound, which can be dissolved with water to help make parts easier to disassemble and recycle.
Concept Luna is just a prototype, and it’s unclear when Dell might start implementing Luna’s design in devices people can actually buy.
With the growing demand for longer-lasting, more sustainable electronics and increasing support for the right to repair, Dell’s concept shows that laptop makers are at the very least rethinking their gadgets. Now they just actually need to make it happen.
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