Laptops are starting to look even sharper and shinier these days, but Taiwan’s Asustek is looking to break away from that trend by coming up with a prototype laptop–one that is encased in bamboo. It’s quite a different but not unusual step to take in the field of more sustainable computer manufacturing; other companies have set up recycling and takeback programs, and smaller ones have come up with monitors, mice, and keyboards made of wood.
Harvesting bamboo, an abundant, flexible, durable and fast-growing grass, is unlikely to harm the environment as processing wood from trees might, Asustek said, although glues and laminates for shaping and fortifying the material sometimes contain toxins.
The product is still in the prototype stage and engineers are checking to see if bamboo is suitable for laptops, which have to endure extreme conditions while allowing heat from microprocessors and monitors to escape.
Should this laptop be distributed in the future, it will definitely help you stand out from the sea of Macbooks and other black or silver laptops. Still, a bamboo-encased laptop is not without its problems. It has to be able to take the heat generated by the computer, plus processing the wood should be done in an environmentally friendly manner to be consistent with its green claims. There’s also the issue of sourcing the bamboo for the laptop–sure it’s not a tree on the verge of disappearing, but that’s no reason for people to take the bamboo for granted.