Green Pasta

September 7th, 2006 by Hugh

Here’s a green design idea that I don’t think even Exbiblio has considered yet (though I don’t know that for certain) – circuit boards made out of pasta and cases made out of corn. Both are wonderfully biodegradable, and if you feel peckish, you can eat your handheld device instead of throwing it away.

You can read more and watch a video report on the BBC’s website.

Green Design

August 21st, 2006 by Team Member

Hardware LabAt Exbiblio we take responsibility for the things we make and do, and strive to leave beauty in our wake. This means our products should be beneficial to our users, not harmful to them, and likewise our products should not be harmful to the environment or the people manufacturing them.

The main aspects of an electronic device like Exbiblio’s oPen scanner that would cause environmental impact are the circuit board, the components on the circuit board (chips, resistors, capacitors, etc.), the battery, the case, and the packaging. Transportation is also a factor, but should be smaller than the others, and energy usage during customer usage should be very small compared to these manufacturing impacts, so we’re concentrating on them. So far, the green design considerations for are mostly going smoothly. This is a brief summary, more detail on each aspect will appear in the future.


The Soup Kitchen Question

July 31st, 2006 by Hugh

As I mentioned in an earlier post, job interviews at Exbiblio can begin with a question about helping the homeless. I notice that from now on, helping the homeless on the streets of Las Vegas will become a criminal offence punishable by a $1000 fine or six months in jail.

Here in the UK, someone who commands a great deal of respect on this subject is John Bird, the founder of the magazine, The Big Issue. The Big issue is sold by homeless people as a way to help them get back on their feet. If Bird was interviewed for a job at Exbiblio, he would have an interesting answer to the question about what you might do when approached on the street for money.

Bird has attacked “hand-outs” as “mollycoddling” the homeless, and has accused charties and soup-kitchens of making the situation worse. (here’s one ex-homeless blogger who disagrees with him). In fact, I heard him telling the BBC today that giving bread to people on the streets is like “feeding pigeons.” He added that it gives them “hope but not opportunity.” In his view the only correct way to approach the problem of homelessness, is to work on ways to get people off the streets and back into mainstream life, rather than continuing their dependence.

This is a question with a number of legitimate approaches. To a large extent it should be about individual conscience and choice, but of course it’s important to take a look at what works and what doesn’t work. However, making it a jailable offence to help the homeless on the streets, as in Las Vegas, strikes me as quite extraordinary.