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What design features could be considered to make the laptop sit better on your legs, or that increases airflow when on a desk? Answered

Asus, a sponsor of Instructables, has put together WePC where they are asking for input on their next generation laptops. As part of their sponsorship, they've asked my opinion on various aspects of laptops. Most recently What design features could be considered to make the laptop sit better on your legs (curved bottom), or that increases airflow when on a desk?

In the next couple of weeks, I will be asking for your input on the final set of features for their community designed netbook. This is pretty exciting because feedback from users on Instructables will be directly incorporated in a consumer product that is scheduled to hit the shelves at the end of this year.

For now, laptop stands:

Instructables is full of laptop stands, and so I thought that the best way to answer this question would be to check out what lead users are already doing.

A PVC laptop stand is one of the basic types, and it only requires cutting the PVC. The parts are held together with friction, and easily disassembled if necessary.
PVC Laptop Stand

An even more minimalist laptop stand can be fashioned from a metal coat hanger. Perhaps the Netbook should have flip-out legs to let users do this without an additional accessory?
Ergonomic Laptop Stand Made From a Coat Hanger

If you want to use your laptop in bed, the stand's legs needs to straddle you, like this laptop stand for bed.
A better laptop stand for bed

Since a laptop is essentially a monitor with a computer attached to it, an adjustable monitor arm can act as a laptop stand.
Adjustable Vesa Arm Laptop Stand

Construction materials aren't only for insulating houses!
Insulating Laptop Pad

Need to use your laptop outside? Try a tripod.
Laptop Desk From Old Camera Tripod

With the exception of the stands that are simple shelves, all of these stands have some sort of positive attachment point to the laptop in common. Like cameras, laptops should get a standardized bolt pattern allowing users to easily mount them in a variety of different ways. For more laptop stand ideas, see our Laptop Stands Guide


Flat legs. No, your legs, not the laptop's!

Maybe something that when you are using the laptop on your legs, The air intake fan isn't underneath so you don't suffocate the laptop......

Maybe a "built in" tray? Have pop-up legs, but they lift the whole bottom panel of the laptop away from the laptop, leaving a half-inch gap all the way round the edge and underneath?

I wonder if you could attach a folding heatsink to that? Attach something like window shutters that fold flat, but turn into heat fins when folded out.

It wouldnt be as effective as a regular heatsink, since at the join of the block and the fin you would be losing heat transfer efficiency since its a hinge as opposed to a solid metal connection.

. I like that. It would also provide some insulation between your lap and the computer. . Would a 1¼ cm gap work as well as ½ in? heehee When did you start thinking in inches?

I use inches for "rule of thumb", and centimetres when I want to do stuff properly.

It's the joy of growing up when a nation switches currencies and unit systems.

(Yes, I used to get shillings in my pocket money, and sixpences in my plum pudding.)

I think 1.27 centimeters might work better

In a sense you're creating more of a collapsible computer than a laptop, which is just fine. I've found that I'm only really concerned about the size/profile of my laptop while it's shut and in a bag. Otherwise, it can be as big as it wants. Pushing the bottom surface away from the internal components is better than feet for actual lap usage (if not for desktop as well) as it is nice to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. This would be great for air flow, unlike adding any sort of insulation between your legs and the computer. They may want to make some sort of provision for debris protection if pursuing this concept.

1. pop out sturdy feet at the rear for desk use 2. no moving parts (even nintendo did it 20+ years ago) lets face it, disks are dead and were a bad idea in the first place 3. screens that can flex 4. more than 5 hrs battery life and spare batterys that dont cost the earth 5. windows or a functional OS should come on a memory stick/card, not a disk 6. layer of tinfoil or something in the base to protect your family jewels from microwave radiation (currently the choice is between wifi or a family) 7. pcmcia/cf/express card slots that arent hindered/tethered slowed down to useless by software drivers

The manufactures should all learn something from apple, No ruddy vents on the base of the laptop!

They do get a bit hot of you lap, but at least your not blocking anything.


The manufacturers should learn something from the R31 ThinkPad.Mostly side vents,easier-to-use TrackBall,built in keyboard light,easy to open RAM and HD covers,blah blah blah.

Oops.The cover which I thought was the HD was an expansion slot for things like internal WiFi.


9 years ago

Definitely on my lap, I rarely use it on some sort of stand or table unless I am multitasking. The vents need to point more upward to keep my legs from burning or as Kiteman said something to raise the laptop up.

make it more heavy near the trackpad and less heavy near the screen

. When open, the screen makes them top heavy and "back heavy" such that they want to tip over. Some weight toward the front would help balance it.

I personally like to lay on the couch while using a laptop; if there were a way to hang it from bent knees so I can type near my abs, that would be cool.

. As far as increasing airflow when on a desk, how about something like the fold-up legs on a keyboard?

I agree with this. The new MacBook(pro) has a similarly designed lever/hatch thing to open the battery cover. If you just throw one of these at each corner, you'd have a pretty decent stand for a desk.

The original question is of the order "we've identified problems with laptops: how can we make them better?" Can you add some more clarity to this, I'm not too sure what you want from us. Laptops tend not to be used on peoples' laps and we know how to cool 'em -don't we? L

based off your last statement, and my instructable. I suggest adding some VESA mount screws to the bottom, this is already a standard fixture, so can easily be adapted to work with all sorts of stands. Also, if to holes were placed slightly more to the rear, one could actually get a simple low profile rail, that screws into the back two screw, and adds a 10mm of clearance.