No one likes that creepy feeling when you are stuck late in that solitary cubicle at the office or library and everyone else has cleared out. You are still hunkered down staring at your computer screen and unaware of who may be behind you. Prevent those awkward jump-scares or allow yourself to comfortably go on with your work by glancing up at your computer attached rearview mirror to see who's there.
Here's another necessory(necessity/accessory so you won't be sorry) to make for your kid going to school.
And make this also if you haven't. wearable personal alarm.
Step 1: Something Borrowed, Something New...
Easily found at most dollar stores, auto parts stores and the Import Tools store where I got mine, is the stick-on convex blind spot mirror. It is a small mirror that has a kind of fish-eye view for a wider view than regular flat mirrors and the mount has some sort of adjustability to get the perfect viewing angle. It is meant to augment an automobile side view mirror but we will use it as our personal rear view mirror, a smaller version of those mirrors found mounted on ceilings or walls to see who's coming around the corner.
We could go all out and design something to mount the mirror to the computer display panel and 3D print it but we can just get a piece of plastic or metal to stub it out and tape it on.
The mirror already has some kind of case that can be affixed to something. You can pull the mirror right off of the ball post that the back of the mirror grips around. That provides the adjustable mirror angle.
When prototyping things, you look for things that are close in shape, functionality and performance to be your sub components so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Also, the laziness factor is an integral part of an elegant solution.
I had a bunch of composite wood/plastic shims used for carpentry, house fixing, etc that fit the bill.
They were rigid and were the right size to have one portion stick to the monitor part and a spot to mount the small mirror case. I rounded off the end where the mirror was mounted to match the profile of the case. I chipped away the excess plastic shim material by using a pair of flush cutters and sanded a bit to get things smooth.
Step 2: A Little Pop in Your Step...
The back of the mirror case already had a piece of double-stick tape attached to it. Might as well use that to stick it into position so we can drill some holes to fasten it together with pop rivets for a permanent fix.
Looking inside, there were already two holes that may have been intended to use for screw in mounting or just part of the plastic injection molding process.
I drilled those two holes to attach 1/8th inch diameter aluminum pop rivets(actually they could have been steel, everything in the 120 pop rivet assortment pack fell out in the plastic bag).
Use a utility knife to cut off that flash or tearout from the drilling to relieve the bump that might interfere with mounting the pop rivet flush with the surface.
Insert the pop rivet and use your rivet gun according to the instructions that came with your tool.
I could have added rivet washers to support the plastic material better but thought the bulk might interfere with the ball mount adjustment.
The rivets worked ok without the washers.
Step 3: Keep on Sticking to It...
Since the back of the shim is pretty smooth, I scored it a bit with a utility knife so that the stick-on velcro would bond better.
It's personal preference on which part of the velcro you want attached to what. If using on a laptop, it may be better to put the soft side on the computer since that will be handled more. The rough plastic velcro part can be on the mirror stick so it is put away when you detach it.
I went for the heavy duty velcro(10lb rating) strips with adhesive. There is super heavy duty industrial type velcro but I didn't think it was necessary to use.
Cut velcro to cover most of the mirror stick for a solid mount. Match up the velcro tape parts and stick one side to the mirror stick.
Position the mirror as you like and mount the velcro pad side to the computer monitor or laptop.
So there you go. Stay alert, Stay Alive.