Old materials, new technology: leather and wooden laptops

No matter how old they are, some materials never go out of style. Whether for aesthetics or sustainability, computer manufacturer HP and Irish company Iameco designed laptops respectively with leather and wood.

HP’s Spectre Folio is covered in what they call “durable chrome-tanned leather”, making it look like the computer is wrapped in a stylish leather laptop case. Not just the outside is covered in leather, though, inside the material continues until the edges of the screen and the keyboard. The leather is just a sleek cover, though: underneath, the laptop, which doubles as a tablet, is made of magnesium alloy.

Iameco had sustainability in mind when developing their laptop. Their aim was to decrease at least 30 per cent of greenhouse gas, at least a 70 per cent overall re-use and recycling of waste, and a reduction of at least 75 per cent fresh water utilisation. The result is a universal shell composed of a universal motherboard and a 6 cell lithium battery, encapsulated in a wooden housing. The shell is made from recycled wood components, and can be reused for new primary system components. The electronic parts, such as the motherboards, cables, RAM modules and power supplies are reusable. The packaging is made from recycled paper and cardboard. All these materials are sourced through various recycling companies.

The laptop contains none of the toxins that have traditionally been used in computer manufacture, but the company promises that the computer is still powerful enough for everything from 3D gaming and design to simple e-mail and word processing.

In addition to a laptop, Iameco also offers a desktop computer, keyboards, mice and computer cases made from wood.

Photos: HP / Kevin Mcfeely (Iameco)