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Hardware Hacking Portables

Bloom Laptop Designed For Easy Disassembly 151

Zothecula writes "It's a given that we will one day be discarding our present laptop computers. It's also a given that e-waste is currently a huge problem, that looks like it's only going to get worse. While most of the materials in a laptop can be recycled, all of those pieces of glass, metal, plastic and circuitry are stuck together pretty tight, and require a lot of time and effort to separate. What is needed are laptops that are designed to be taken apart, for easy recycling – that's why a group of graduate students from Stanford University made one."
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Bloom Laptop Designed For Easy Disassembly

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  • by Stregano ( 1285764 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:21PM (#34162824)
    If the price is right, this may have double use. I know that one issue with me personally not owning laptops is that when they break, it sucks really bad to do some of the repairs/replace parts. If a laptop is brought to mass market with easy to disassemble parts, maybe we can get lucky and get more 3rd party support for swapping out pieces
  • Easy recycling? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:26PM (#34162876)
    How about easy repairing so we don't toss them out so quickly in the first place?
  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:26PM (#34162888)

    Small, easily disassembled, cheap: pick 2.

  • Re:Easy recycling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:29PM (#34162934)
    I'm pretty sure with the fact that they can be disassembled, anything you break (or want to upgrade) could be slotted in easily.

    I wonder why nobody else thought of this concept before. Size matters?
  • Re:Easy recycling? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:30PM (#34162946)

    How about easy repairing so we don't toss them out so quickly in the first place?

    The large laptop manufacturers will resist this because it conflicts with their "built in obsolescence" design principles. If you can keep the main laptop and only swap out keyboards, LCDs, motherboards, etc as needed you'll do it instead of buying a brand new one with a new MS license associated to it.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:44PM (#34163102)

    Good point. If someone getting paid minimum wage has to spend an extra hour breaking down my old laptop *once* for recycling, and I get an extra hour or two a day of productive IT work at much-more-than-minimum-wage out of it for three years of use... focusing on saving time at the breakdown point presents a skewed vision of the value of the time involved in manufacture, use, and disposal of the laptop.

    Number of times I've had to crack open whichever laptop I've owned during the ~9 years I've owned one: 2. Once to replace a bad drive, once to upgrade RAM. Number of hours per work day I use my laptop: 8+, with an hour or two per day on weekends. I like that the gear is largely recyclable, but I'll easily pay an extra 50 bucks every few years to cover the extra time spent assembling/disassembling the laptop at manufacture & recycle time if it means I get a more powerful / less bulky / better battery-life unit for the three or more years I'll be using it for.

  • by AltairDusk ( 1757788 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:48PM (#34163130)
    If shooting for ease of recycling is what gets us easily upgradeable laptops then I'm all for it. I'm willing to accept not having the lightest, thinnest design if it allows me the degree of flexibility currently only found in a desktop for hardware components.
  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @01:49PM (#34163154) Homepage

    On the other side of the spectrum, I was trying to replace the trackpad in my MacBook Pro. It turned out that I had to take out several tiny screws to open the back cover. The trackpad was under the battery, but guess what? The battery is attached with anti-tamper screws!

    I have yet to find a screwdriver that will fit those damn screws. Maybe it's time to rob a Genius Bar?

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:01PM (#34163286) Journal

    Small, Easily Disassembled, cheap, proprietary.

    Pick any three. (FTFY)

  • what we need (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:20PM (#34163556) Journal a new paradigm, one not based on commodity electronic devices that you throw away when they cease working or upgrade bi-yearly to the next semi-greatest thing. Besides being extremely ecologically unfriendly, it's a scam participated on the consumer designed to maximize profits. (The consumer is as much at fault for falling for it, but that doesn't make it less a scam.)

    As responsible consumers, we should be looking at devices designed to last significantly past the next design cycle, that are designed to have (at least) the parts replaced that are most likely to fail (screens, drives, batteries), and that meet our current needs, not just elevate our "cool". And then keep them for a long time.

    Manufacturers will resist this because they've built their business model on regular forklift upgrades. They'd have to be different companies to evolve beyond this. Probably smaller companies.

    eWaste eRecycling is not the answer. It mitigates the problem but does not solve it. Tossing your old device in a recycle bin is not an excuse to replace it at every incremental improvement.

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:20PM (#34163568)

    Small, easily disassembled, cheap: pick 2.


    The proper pattern is: Powerful, High Quality, Cheap, pick two.

    The "easily disassembled" part is a function of a good design. As such, it falls under high quality. Small is also a function of the design, and as such falls under the high quality.

    So you can have a small, easy to disassemble, powerful laptop, but it won't be cheap. You can have a small, easy to disassemble laptop for cheap, but it won't be powerful. You can have a cheap, powerful laptop but, depending on exactly how cheap it is, it won't be small or easy to disassemble or both.

    The real trick here will be to get manufacturers to play along. Desktops are easy, having lots of space is a good thing. Laptops are harder, because leftover space is a bad thing, and a standardized format will invariably lead to wasted space for many designs.

    In the long run, though, things would be a lot cheaper. We'd be spending $50 for a laptop case, $150 for a motherboard, $300 for that kickass new processor, and $150-$400 for the screen. We'll get a custom laptop market similar to the custom desktop market, and that will be very, very cool. In this scenario you could build a reasonably powerful laptop for $300-$400 if you chose last gen's components instead of the latest and greatest.

    If we could get some kind of standardization in the laptop market it would be wonderful in my opinion.

  • Re:Easy recycling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maeka ( 518272 ) on Monday November 08, 2010 @02:53PM (#34164086) Journal

    I wanted to replace it, and the cheapest I found that little piece online was $40+shipping. Cheapest I found it from Sony? $60+tax+shipping. It's a small piece of molded plastic, that even after manufacture, storage, etc cannot cost more than a few dollars.

    I'm sure manufacture, storage and inventory were only a few dollars. So were the manufacturing, storage, and inventory costs for the dozens of parts which never got sold.

    The parts business is one of statistical inventory. Cheap prices OR large inventory, not both.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @04:46AM (#34171250)

    There should be no reason why a laptop couldn't be well designed like an Apple, and easy to service.

    When you say "easy to service", do you mean "easy to service by a trained individual with a proper toolset and work environment", or "easy to service by some random person who put a computer together once with a philips screwdriver and a kitchen table" ? Because these are *very* different design constraints.

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek