A tablet is a mobile computing device, generally smaller than a laptop or PC, but larger than a smartphone. In 2013, more than 195 million tablets were sold. Tablet sales are expected to only increase in the future as people find them convenient for checking email, communicating, and playing games and watching media.
Inside a tablet, basic components include a microprocessor, a battery, a Central Processing Unit, accelerometers, gyroscopes, graphic processors, flash-back memory, WiFi and/or cellular chips and antennas, USB dock and power supply, speakers, a touch-screen, controller chip, camera sensors, chips and lenses. These components today use metals such as cadmium and lead which can pollute the environment when disposed of improperly.
Batteries supply power to tablets. However, many tablets today are designed to have a battery that cannot be changed by the user themselves. This is one of the reasons that people upgrade these devices so frequently. The lack of recyclability of the battery is one limitation that our GREEN Tablet will address, by featuring an easy-to-change and biodegradable sugar-based battery.
"PC's will become like ‘trucks’ and tablets like cars': PC's will still be around, and they'll still be a big market, but they won't become the most common way people do their computing anymore."
The Problem of E-Waste
The disposing of devices generates 20 to 50 tons of electronic waste (E-waste) per year, making it the fastest- growing city waste stream in the US.
The video “Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia” shows such a city in southeast China called Guiyu where American e-waste is exported. People there recycle e-waste for a rate of $1.50 a day. Women and children sift through the materials without protective coverings like masks or gloves. They use methods such as burning wires to get out the copper.
Water samples there show heavy metal content 190 times greater than what is deemed safe by the World Health Organization. Soil in Guiyu has a high amount of chromium- 1,338 times more than the EPA’s risk standard. Piles of burnt metal, wires, TV’s and circuit boards, printer cartridges and old computers in the city sit stacked along the sides of roads and near the river.
The GREEN Tablet's components will biodegrade and/or dissolve easily, reducing E-waste and protecting the environment.