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Dell is developing the Luna concept of the modular and salvage computer

Dell is developing the Luna concept of the modular and salvage computer

The search for a durable, easy-to-repair computer fuels manufacturers’ innovation. At Dell, the first version of the Luna concept was unveiled last year, with a laptop prototype that can be taken apart in the blink of an eye with a screwdriver. The stated goal was to make the components accessible, replaceable and reusable, in order to use as little resources as possible. Since then, engineers have refined the concept by striving to do away with the screws, cables, adhesives and welds that complicate the process and design components that are simply attached to the chassis by sliding it around.

To get started, only one push is needed to unlock the piece that holds the keyboard in place. Removing the latter gives access to the remains of components (fan, battery, motherboard, etc.), which you just need to extract from its case in the correct order. Thanks to this compact, modular design, the laptop can be completely disassembled in minutes, compared to up to over an hour for standard models.

Along with these improvements, Dell has radically evolved its concept by integrating telemetry and robotics. With telemetry, the goal is to diagnose the individual condition of each component of the system, whose lifespan varies greatly depending on usage. “People who work from home, for example, can use external components, such as keyboards and monitors. Then, the keyboard and screen of the laptop have barely been used, when the motherboard is good to replace them,” the manufacturer explains. The idea is to know precisely when and on what component to intervene.

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If replacing a component already seems within everyone’s reach, Dell is pushing the concept further by designing a robot capable of exploiting telemetry data and processing components faster. This large articulated arm can greatly reduce repair times for customers and why not one day pave the way for self-service repair shops.

However, don’t expect to see sealed Luna computers arrive or the concept commercialized soon. The concept is still in its early stages and Dell understands this is a long term vision.

“Our continued work with Concept Luna brings us closer to a future where more devices are built with a modular design. The exciting addition of robotics and automation serves as a catalyst to speed up efficient device disassembly, measure component health and remaining usability, and better understand which components can be reused, refurbished or recycled – so that nothing is lost.”comment in blog post Glenn Robson, Group Director of Experience Innovation at Dell.