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Dell imagines a more sustainable laptop design — and it’s a radical change

Dell has announced and demonstrated Concept Luna, a radical rethinking of how laptops are designed, with an emphasis on bolstering repairability and sustainability.

Companies like Dell have ambitious goals to go carbon neutral, and they’re well aware that recycling old tech won’t ever be enough to reach those goals. Concept Luna goes far beyond recycling, injecting sustainability into how laptops are designed to make them far more reusable in the future.

A deconstructed laptop part of Dell's Concept Luna project.

Concept Luna laptops don’t look all that different from a standard Dell laptop, but inside, they couldn’t be more different. These laptops put the majority of the device’s guts behind the screen rather than under the keyboard. The battery remains, but the motherboard and other components have all been moved to behind the screen and would be cooled passively. These laptops would be built more like a tablet in that regard.

Dell says this would dramatically increase both the long-term repairability of the laptops and the ability to reuse components. According to Dell, the goal is to get up to three complete life cycles from the motherboard, which would be harvested from laptops that are traded in.

For example, someone might buy a high-end XPS laptop one year, and then decide to trade it in for another just a year or two later. Hypothetically, Dell could then harvest the motherboard and reuse it in a cheaper product in the Inspiron line.

That also means all of the internal components are easily accessible and user replaceable, which greatly extends the life span of the device.

These would need to be marked down, of course, and Dell was aware that some discounts might be needed to entice consumers.

Dell claims this new design would reduces its carbon footprint by 50%, primarily due to the internals and motherboard.

None of this is set in stone, of course. Concept Luna is still just an idea, though Dell already had a working model of these laptops to show off.

As right to repair increasingly becomes a pressing issue for tech companies, we should expect to see more attempts to make meaningful improvements to repairability. The Framework Laptop is built entirely around this idea, and even the new MacBook Pro made some positive changes that impact repairability.

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