The Lap Top As An Example Of A Reliable System

Laptop computers have multiple features or characteristics that contribute to their reliability. The result is that laptop computers are in wide use with consumers. We will examine six of those characteristics and show how they contribute to laptop reliability.

1) Use Of Protective Materials
The first is the use of protective materials and structure for the display. Users expect their displays to be reliable and present high quality images during the full life cycle. Laptop structural design ensures that it will not be damaged during the opening and closing of the laptop which induces stress.

2) Design Features
The second are the design features in the keyboard. The keyboard must withstand the physical abuse of key strokes and material falling into the keyboard. The materials, electrical components, and mechanical design of the keyboards contribute to the reliability of the laptop.

3) Reliability Of The Pointing Device
The third is the reliability of the pointing device. Laptops have a touch pad that is used as a pointing device. This must continue to perform with repeated mechanical stress of pressing and even the frustrated ‘thump’ that sometimes occurs when using the pointing device. The sensor in the touch pad pointing device must be reliable.

4) Reliability Of The Moving Parts
The fourth is the reliability of hard drive shock and vibration protection. One of the major reliability issues with laptops is the mechanical reliability of the hard drive since they have moving parts and high speed rotation motors. The mechanical shock and vibration absorption features of the hard drive contribute to the reliability of the laptop.

5) Thermal Design and Electronic Packaging
The fifth is the thermal design of the electronic packaging which maintains the proper junction temperature of the semiconductors. A major reliability issue in electronic components is their junction temperature. The heat conduction and airflow design of the laptop computer maintains the required temperature of electronics such as the microprocessor.

6) Interfaces
The sixth is the interfaces that exist between the laptop and the external environment. The laptop must connect to the power supply, USB devices, CD/DVDs, memory modules, external monitors, and other items. The interfaces require proper materials, mechanical design, and electrical design to remain reliable during the operational life cycle of the laptop.

These six features of lap tops contribute to their reliability. The systems engineer must be aware of the operating environement of the system being developed, its use cases, user expectations, and other variables that will affect the reliability of the system. Armed with this information, the systems engineer can guide the product or system development to ensure it is reliable.

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