Images via Laura Karnath
A couple years ago, embedding solar cells into gadgets was all the rage among electronics designers. While that trend has fizzled out a bit, encasing electronics in a solar panel might be picking up speed. The Lifebook Leaf concept developed by Laura Karnath and Carl Burdick is a beautiful design putting solar power in the front seat. It is just futuristic enough to be vaporware, but the concept is pretty cool. Karnath and Burdick designed the Lifebook Leaf in conjunction with Fujitsu and Designboom's "A Life With Future Computing" competition.
"The device consists a single flexible OLED touchscreen that can be used as a flat display or folded into a laptop form. A rubberized interior prevents scratching of the internal screens, while a polycarbonate exterior shell, sealed completely and featuring a waterproof zipper when shut, provides protection from water damage, a leading cause of laptop failure."
Amazingly enough, the designers planned for three cameras to be built into the top of the device so that 3D photography and depth sensing is possible. That way, the laptop can be controlled with gestures as well as with the touchscreen.
And of course the exterior is one giant solar cell so that the device can be folded open and charged.
Practical or possible? Definitely not. The designers state, "With our collective environmental crisis beginning to spiral out of control, designers can no longer design products which rely on energy and resources as if those things were limitless. the 'lifebook leaf' is an attempt to deal with these realities."
Unfortunately it doesn't deal with the reality of technology. This thing is decades from being even potentially a consumer electronic available on store shelves.
However, it is very interesting, and we appreciate how the designers have incorporated solar power, OLED displays and durable materials into their design. We definitely love the innovation that inspired this design.
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