Portable computer - Figure 2 (U.S. Patent 6504707)
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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.
That whole thing about the NASA wasting millions on a Space Pen was a big hoax. see http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
This whole issue including this article is a "Multi-Media' circus. If your intention was to entertain the airheads while the techies were cooking the turkey with solar radiation, you have succeeded.
Contraptions like these remind me of the joke about NASA, when they put astronauts in space and found out the pens wouldn't write because there was no gravity to make the ink flow. NASA spent millions developing a pen that would write in zero-gravity. The Russian cosmonauts used a pencil.
IBM's employees have produced more patent than any other company for the past 15 years. http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/33341.wss Of the 1,596 in 2010, a few (many) will never see practical application.
Over the years, IBM came up with a lot of interesting screen and keyboard concepts. The ThinkPad 360 and 750 of the early 1990s had a convertible display similar to the one shown in this patent. Then there was the IBM Transnote that also used a variation of this approach. In many respects, these solutions were actually better than the single rotating pivot hinge that almost all notebook convertibles have had for the past ten years or so.
they deserve their respect. They were the pioneers of present day technology when it was still a dream light years away from that time.
Hardware company employees used to be encouraged to submit any idea to patent or extend the company's portfolio. Companies like the former Cow Spotted computers from South Dakota paid engineers, technicians and production employees for their ideas if it resulted in a patent for the company. Even if the idea seemed a wacky.
We used to use something similar in the 1980's to cut down reflections on our terminals! A couple of suspension files and a roll of tape! We even had some photos around somewhere, but, not sure where they are now! Some were even decorated with appropriate comments in relation to the job, or not, as the case may be!
My first Thinkpad had a detachable back on the screen so you could use it with an overhead projector - it used it many times for teaching and presenting. It can with an elastic strap to hold it on the projector. A great idea.
Obviously, all of these weren't really practical but we have the benefit of hind sight. Considering the dates on these it seems some of these have been done later in different fashions to get around patent issues. Interesting to see how progressive some of them are at the time though
Simply hideous in design, no practical of any real world use! Anyone can file a design patent of all sort, but can they produce a product for massive market? Not really! When was the last time IBM came out with innovative design for the massive market, YESTERDAY = Lenovo latop. If they want to be a TRUE compatitor in the market, then must make something practical sense to SIMPLIFY life and not to COMPLICATE it more. Apple got it Right.
Remembers the screens in the Monthy Pytons' movie "Brazil"! Maybe they should deserve the patent instead of IBM ;-)
Laptops have keyboards too high or screen too low... for those with RSI who must work on a laptop, a potential solution.
IBM gives their employees a $$ bonus for each patent filed, so I can imagine there are some cooky ideas out there. I think it was $5k per patent.
I could have used a few of these devices. Even the ideas that made it to market didn't receive the attention they deserved. I do much of my work in the field, frequently away from easy power sources and good lighting. Two things I wish I had on my Thinkpad replacements: One was the little light on the display that pointed down and illuminated the keyboard. The second was the battery pack that could go in the CD/DVD slot doubling or tripling the battery life. When our IS group distributed the Thinkpad replacements, I pointed out these two features. They were not aware of them.
This is just another application of a standard accessory in use for decades on analog and sampling oscilloscopes. The "hoods" as we called them were used to view signals at a very fast scan rate. Anyone who has used analog o'scopes to view fast rise time signals has used one. I'd be surprised if this wasn't covered by a broader patent somewhere along the line.
When I saw the scissor hinges, my first thought was of how many people's fingers they would have pinched.
The tiny screens with huge magnifiers in Gilliam's classic was the first thing I thought of as well. If you want to see the tiny screens and magnifiers in Brazil, check out the 1985 movie trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wh2b1eZFUM
The patent awards are now down to $100. Retirees or those laid off don't get anything. The days of the carrot are gone. Now the prevalent method is the stick, or threat of layoff if you don't produce something.
I remember in the 90's when people would bring in IBM's to the shop. It was always interesting to see what new doohickey IBM had created to make their laptops odd and do something unique. Then you'd have to work on the thing and my only thought would be, "Why do they have to make them so ridiculous."
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that as soon as I saw it. Now where's that huge bluetooth ear piece he used to wear and those nifty square computer disks for the library computer? Oh right....