Captec saps tech from Aleutia to put its tiny PCs back to work

Beautiful machines will get a second lease of life

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British industrial computing specialist Captec has acquired the assets and intellectual property of London-based Aleutia – a maker of tiny, fanless PCs that's been quietly sinking into obscurity.

Captec will rework the designs, originally created for the education sector, and adapt them for hard work in factories and hospitals. The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

Aleutia (pronounced al-oo-sha) was founded in 2006 to design and build low-cost PCs that could support education in Africa. After successful experiments with fanless designs – which make for smaller, quieter and cheaper computers, but require low-power CPUs – the company expanded its business to include healthcare and industrial sectors.

Despite good reviews, the company seems to have quietly ceased trading some time around 2018, and both of its PCs are currently out of stock. The founder and managing director, Mike Rosenberg, is listed as serving as general manager at Africa Power Storage – a company making internet-connected solar inverters and lithium-based storage products. Telephone numbers listed on Aleutia website are not active, and it doesn't seem to be responding to emails.

A Captec spokesperson confirmed to El Reg that the deal essentially revolves around the PC designs and intellectual property – despite their best intentions, the team at Aleutia didn't manage to build a self-sustaining business.

The company's creations, all made in England, relied on passive cooling, combining aluminium and copper to extract the heat out of the case without the need for any moving parts. Aleutia primarily used Celeron and Arm chips, although there were models able to accommodate Core i3 and i5 silicon.

Thanks to low power consumption – as little as 20W – these diminutive boxes could be powered by solar panels. More than 400 schools in Africa currently use PCs from Aleutia, and some of them are completely off-grid.

"Aleutia computers are tools that help people achieve amazing things in conditions where normal computers fail, and their unique design was born out of this necessity," Rosenberg explained.

Captec makes industrial computers, rugged tablets, server cabinets and all manner of IoT devices for customers in multiple sectors, from transport and energy to defence and security. It was established in 1985 and is headquartered in Hampshire, with North American headquarters in Cambridge, Canada. The company is planning to file for IPO – although no definite time frame has been set.

Captec said it will redesign Aleutia's legacy products to make them more suitable for industrial applications, adding extended I/O connectivity options, Intel Movidius Myriad X VPU modules for vision and AI-based applications, and GSM/LTE SIM options for cloud connectivity.

"The marriage of Aleutia's innovative legacy products with Captec's technical capabilities, industrial market experience and international reach will enable us to refresh, revive and reposition its computers," said Max Toti, founder and CEO of Captec. ®


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