Dublin designer branches out with 'tree' PC
An innovative tree-shaped PC that allows users to upgrade parts of the computer separately when required, has won a major design award.
Laura Caulwell (22), a graduate of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) took home the Dyson Ireland Student Design Award on Wednesday for her invention entitled "Cultivate - the Sustainable Living Computer".
Caulwell, who was awarded €2,000 after scooping the top prize, will now go on to represent Ireland at the prestigious International James Dyson Award held in January 2008.
Shaped as a tree, the "Cultivate" allows each part of the computer to be upgraded separately so that as a user's needs change, the tree grows.
The trunk of the tree houses the motherboard, while 10 branches also hold the central processor, RAM, battery, power supply, expansion cards, storage, two speakers, an ambient light, and a mouse.
Any of these components can be "plucked" from the tree and sent back to the supplier for upgrade, recycling or remanufacture.
The Cultivate computer tree also features silver aluminum "leaves" which act as external heatsinks, cooling down each component. They are attached by the user, and can be bent and curled into all manner of shapes.
The Dyson Ireland Student Design Award is run in association with Design Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Institute of Designers in Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland
Limerick University graduates, Marion Barry (22) and Kate Corish (22) took second and third place respectively in the awards with their inventions – "Swival", an indoor children's exercise toy aimed at combating child obesity, and "Solalift", a manual handling device for sheet construction materials.
The International James Dyson Awards, which has been running for the past four years, offers aspiring design engineers the opportunity to compete on an international stage for a total prize fund of over £15,000.
© 2007 ENN
The Idea sounds familiar....
There was an early PC - I forget who made it - Burroughs ? - someone like that anyway
Made in the late 80's early 90s it was a row of boxes that plugged together - CPU, RAM, Disk drive etc.... 8086 based maybe even up to 80286. It looked a lot better than the Ugly thing in the picture at the top of the article.
even the one here looks a lot neater:
As for 'future proof' PCs anyone remember the passive ISA bus machines where the CPU was on a plug in card so the CPU and RAM could be easily upgraded? - they didnt last long after PCI came out....
The designer isn't stupid...
...just deluded. It's the people who run these 'design contests' who are fools - I've seen various "PC design" contests, and others of the same ilk, come and go for years. And in an industry that turns on a dime, nothing has ever come of it, because all of the designs chosen are incomprehensibly impractical.
It's a case of a bunch of people who know nothing about electronics picking an electronics design made by someone who knows nothing about electronics.
The worst part is that, IIRC, Intel did one of these a while ago. Some dude won with the same kind of concept, except his was a stack of books, or something. That one was particularly egregious; it solved problems that didn't exist and had already been tried, and failed - and not because it was ahead of its time.
This, unfortunately, appears to be a common delusion. El Reg ought to do its bit to stamp it out rather than playing along.
#1, she's sitting on the trolley tracks. #2, that's a lamp, not a PC. #3, she doesn't know the difference, and neither do the judges.
I had initially thought that there was something great, like a PC whose circuit boards were made from a wood derivative. That would be something to celebrate. But no, we get a nut who wants something that goes with her My Little Pony collection.
There is nothing stopping anyone making a motherboard that has no pci or pci express. All pci cards can be replaced by sata, usb2/3, firewire or optical fiber. Personally all devices should just use optical as this is what we are going to use in the future anyway. The only device that would cause problems would be the graphics card. It should be possible to replace pci express with a optical connector as optical fiber can handle 1Tbps and above. With no pci the motherboard can be cut in half or to a third of its size thus making it cheaper.
My ideal pc would be a computer of just 3.5 inch double height and single height bays. Motherboard would take 1 double height bay with its own internal fan and heat sink, you could add another motherboard and link it to the other one using optical fiber. My graphics card would take 1 , so for a sli or more I would just buy 1 or more cards and plug them into there own bays and connect using optical fiber and that’s it.
Not to suggest that the design is all that practical, but modern systems use high-speed reduced-pincount "busses" like Rambus, HyperTransport, PCIExpress...
I have personally run close to a gigabyte/sec over NIC that was connected to the MB via a PCIExpress (x8) cable some 45cm long. A bit wider than I'd want to stuff through those "branches", but nothing like ISA fans would imagine. :-)
Computers are conceptually simple (well, to some of us), but the implementation details of even a fairly vanilla PC these days are complex and sometimes surprising.
Now, what I want to see is a PC that allows "hot" memory replacment like some mainframes of the 1970s. Only really of interest if your OS stays up for long. :-)