Latest ThinkPads inspired by nature

Lenovo engineers look to nature to solve the problem of loud laptop fans.

If an owl's wings can move through the air without making noise... Lenovo can a fan blade. Lenovo

Most consumers don't pay much attention to laptop-cooling technologies, but laptop designers tend to live and die by their thermals. That's because users will notice if their laptop gets too hot or if fan noise keeps them from enjoying their favorite movie. Plus, high heat inside the case can hamper performance if the processor has to throttle back to avoid overheating.

So when Lenovo's designers were challenged to fit Intel's new platform into a more compact ThinkPad case without raising temperatures or increasing fan noise, they turned to nature for inspiration. Specifically, they studied owls, whose virtually silent flight enables them to sneak up on prey. Replicating the aerodynamics of owl wings, Lenovo's designers reasoned, would result in quieter fan blades.

Like most good design, the owl-inspired fan blades are successful only if they aren't noticed. But their source of inspiration seems cool enough (pun intended) to call out.

About the author

    Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.


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