For decades, IBM was a pioneer in the portable computer market, introducing the venerable ThinkPad laptop brand—sold to Lenovo in 2005. And when Big Blue was still designing laptops, its engineers and designers came up with some pretty strange ideas.
Image taken from U.S. Patent 6,504,707 - Digitized by Google
The U.S. patent drawings in this gallery showcase four of those ideas:
- Telescoping display screen for frequent fliers
- Self-contained, pop-up magnifier to make the display's image larger
- Scissor-hinge lid for the ultimate in display flexibility
- Collapsible glare shield that looked like a giant, square ice cream cone
While none of these ideas made it to market in their original form, they illustrate the creativity of IBM employees. They also provide a glimpse of current technologies that were being toyed with years ago—such flippable displays (found in many convertible, tablet laptops).
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.