Dell’s Luna Concept: The vision of a repairable laptop is intertwined with a greener future
“We weren’t necessarily trying to build a laptop, we were trying to figure out what the big issues are that need to be addressed to impact our entire product line,” Drew Tosh, director, advanced design strategy , Dell Technologies, about Concept Luna, a durable laptop that supports the right to repair movement.
Announced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month, Concept Luna previews a serviceable and durable laptop for the future. Although just a concept at the moment, Luna is reinventing a laptop from the ground up with the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of an existing laptop by 50%.
Drew and his team, who work on device concepts and future alphas at Dell, began working on Luna about two years ago. “The first five months were all about research,” Tosh told indianexpress.com on a call from Austin, Texas. “We had made a lot of durable material directions, but for that [project] we took a step back and looked at the whole system where we met with our supply chain partners. He added, “We really spent a lot of time trying to figure out the problem we were trying to solve.”
Dell’s Concept Luna takes a different approach not only in design but also in how it’s going to be made. The role of materials that consume less power and how components will fit together require a reimagined approach to laptop design. The motherboard inside the Luna is 75% smaller and uses 20% fewer components to manufacture. All of the other laptop components are then rearranged around the motherboard which sits near the top for additional cooling exposure. Screw usage is reduced by 10 times compared to a regular laptop, and the battery would be lithium iron phosphate, which has twice the cycle life of a traditional lithium-ion battery.
One thing that makes Dell’s Concept Luna a whole new generation of laptops is its focus on upgradability and repairability. Dell said teardown, which includes repair and reassembly time, takes just 1.5 hours. “With a few screws, users could replace the keyboard by themselves; Also, the motherboard can be removed from the laptop and replaced with a newer one.
“Luna was really important because it helps to be both in the vehicle of education to really make internal and external people aware of the complexity that we’re trying to solve, but it also allows us to break down the pieces and help teams really understand how they can have these impacts,” he explained.
The fight for the “right to repair” is gaining momentum lately, and tech companies like Apple are compelled to act. “Right to repair” advocates are trying to force manufacturers to make their products more repairable and improve third-party access to important tools, parts and information.
Tosh agrees that laptops in the late 2000s were easy to repair, but things started to change when it became nearly impossible for users to replace a battery or get into the laptop and clean it. repair by yourself.
To achieve a thin and light laptop form factor, manufacturers had to switch from using cylindrical battery designs to a rechargeable lithium-polymer (LiPo or Li-Poly) battery. “Some think they [PC brands] removed it because they didn’t want to make it easy to remove the battery… that was because the whole industry was moving towards lighter, thinner, more powerful laptops and we were getting more powerful batteries from those directions and optimizing the design by not having to make it removable,” Tosh said. “It becomes a service and a regulatory aspect, because you’re essentially opening up access to the power of the system.”
With Concept Luna, Tosh said that not only is Dell trying to make aspects easier to fix, but also easier to fix for someone who may not know the technical know-how, leaving end users to do their own service operations.
“We’re out of the theory or concept stage, and we’re starting to try to figure out how to implement all of these things that are mass-produced, because you can build 100 or 1000 of something one way, but build millions. another is on a different scale,” Tosh said when asked about Dell’s plans to mass-produce Luna, which is still a concept device.
For Dell, Concept Luna is not a marketing opportunity, rather it is something more personal. “We know this stuff [Luna] is tough and we know we’re not the only ones traveling,” said Page Motes, global sustainability manager at Dell Technologies.
Page said Concept Luna is part of the lunar goals the company has set to decarbonize its products and have a deeper impact in the circular economy space. “By bringing [Luna] to life is a true example of how we try to take ideas and actually put them into action,” Page said.