HOW NEC IS DESIGNING GREENER GIZMOS
Office typewriters used to be built of simple steel and cast iron, and they lasted for decades. Today's computers and other electronic gear, made of all sorts of exotic materials, are usually discarded in a matter of years.
To help design environmentally safe electronic products, NEC Corp. in Japan has developed a software program called Ecofusion. It lets engineers visualize a new product in 3-D and make sure it's easy to manufacture. But Ecofusion also contains environmental data on some 400 materials used in electronic componentry, which the company can use to evaluate a new design for all the chemical waste the product would generate when finally thrown away.EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITY