Bamboo PC Hardware
For computer users that are looking for very distinctive and environmentally-friendly computer hardware, you can now find monitor housings, computer mice, and keyboards made from bamboo. Instead of the cold plastic components that most of us are familiar with, bamboo composition imparts a warm tone to the room and makes these pieces of hardware a handsome addition to any home or office.
Why Use Bamboo?
Bamboo is a species of grass that grows more rapidly than any other plant on the planet and the strength and flexibility of the plant's fibers make it an ideal and quickly renewable resource for all sorts of applications such as construction, textiles, flooring, lumber, furniture, and many other applications. While trees take decades to reach a harvestable age, bamboo can be harvested in as little as three years and when bamboo is cut, the plant does not die, it merely grows a new shoot and the growing process begins again.
Most plastics, whether they are used to make computer components or anything else, are made from oil which is non-renewable and becoming increasingly expensive not only in monetary terms but also environmental. Also, bamboo's popularity as a 'green' alternative to less eco-friendly materials is exploding and new uses and applications are entering the world's markets every day which helps to lessen our impact on the environment and increase environmental awareness.
As of this writing, the bamboo monitors are flat-panel LCD monitors available in 15, 17, and 19-inch sizes with a light blond finish. The bezel, back, and base of the monitor are all made from bamboo and the back is perforated with tiny holes to allow for cooling. The first models on the market offer resolution of 1280 x 1024 and have plug & play capability. Also available in widescreen models, they're a bit pricy but if they become popular, the prices are likely to drop nearer to the prices of other monitors on the market.
Bamboo Computer Mouse
These optical bamboo computer mice are only available in wired models at the moment with left and right buttons and a scrolling wheel as well. They come with a light blond finish and are ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in the hand.
Bamboo Computer Keyboard
These bamboo keyboards have the same layout as conventional keyboards, complete with numpad and are available in a few different finishes from light blond to a darker, richer color that looks like oak. Like the bamboo mice, these keyboards are currently only available in wired models but if they become popular, the wireless models are certain to follow.
Bamboo Notebook Computer
The Taiwanese computer giant Asus has announced that an environmentally friendly notebook computer called the Ecobook will be available in 2008. The outer case is made from bamboo but the eco-friendliness goes further than skin-deep. All of the plastic components in the computer are labeled and recyclable, the inside is lined with cardboard, and there are no paints, sprays, or electroplating used on its components. Further, it is designed so that it can be easily taken apart for self-service and easy upgrading of components.
The impact of bamboo computer hardware on the market remains to be seen. The recent arrival of these components makes it tough to gauge whether these are niche items or the beginning of a new trend in eco-friendly computing. But one thing is certain: If consumers continue to vote for 'green' computer products with the green in their wallets, we'll soon see more interesting and innovative uses for bamboo in the very near future.