Video: The Voltron of Laptops Fights E-Waste

Students design a brilliant prototype for a recyclable laptop in an effort to reduce the enormous amounts of e-waste generated each year.

Every hour of every day the world generates an enormous amount of electronic waste, and it probably comes as no surprise that the majority of that e-waste comes from the United States. "To give you a perspective on just how much e-waste is generated imagine this," explains Stanford University student Aaron Engel-Hall. "In one hour the world generates enough e-waste to fill the seating area of two Olympic stadiums. That's a whole lot of 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.

While the majority of an electronic device is just metal, plastic, and glass—materials that could be thrown in your home recycling—the difficulty in recycling electronics is in separating those components into like materials.

"The reason you can't do that normally is because these materials are all mixed together and locked up tight with hundreds of screws and fasteners," Engel-Hall explains. "And in every electronic device there are several "bad apples" like LCDs, batteries, processors, and other components that require special recycling facilities to deal with them."

The Stanford/Aalto students chose to focus on the laptop arch because it contained almost every "bad apple" imaginable. Now the progress they've made towards transforming a laptop into a recyclable device can be applied to any device on the market.


"Our team wanted to make it easy for the consumer to separate out the "bad apples" and recycle the rest of the laptop in their own recycling bins," says Engel-Hall. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 1.9 to 2.2 millions tons of electronics became obsolete in 2005 alone, and only about 379,000 tons of that was recycled. In that context, this team's accomplishment goes along way toward pushing companies away from making the stuff “The Story of Electronics” documentarian Annie Leonard describes as "designed for the dump."

How do you like them apples?

Photo (cc) by flickr user takomabibelot

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News