Inside the Recompute Cardboard PC

Inside the Recompute Cardboard PC

While I was going through gear at the Greener Gadgets conference, a dude came up to me and asked, “Hey, you wanna see something?” He pulled out a beat-up suitcase stuffed with old, dirty dishrags.

He pulled away three layers of soiled cotton from the 70s before he pulled out a cardboard box—the Recompute cardboard PC, which Brendan Macaluso insists isn’t a box because he’s a designer “and designers don’t make boxes.”

He didn’t have anything to plug it into, but he assures it and the other model in existence totally work. Inside is a micro-ATX motherboard packed with a Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM and a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive.

The point of the cardboard case—which he says it just an extreme example of his definition of implementing sustainability in design—is to make it easier to dismantle, for “controlled disposal.” It’s made up of 12 different patterns laid out in a CAD program, with all of the layer sandwiched together with plain white glue—the layers give it strength and a degree of durability.

So the hard-to-recycle plastic case is dealt with, but, uh, what about the guts? He said there’s a company in Florida that properly disposes of circuit boards, grinding them into dust and magnetically separating out the usable elements, but the point of Recompute is that it’s a framework for building ideas. It’s easy to mass produce, and he’s open to working with people to do that.

It’s obviously not the prettiest PC in the room, but it’s better than an ugly planet.