Hardware

Wild IBM laptop patents: Telescoping screen, pop-up magnifier, and more

Portable computer - Figure 2 (U.S. Patent 6504707)

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.

The U.S. patent drawings in this gallery showcase four of those ideas:

A telescoping display designed for frequent fliers
A self-contained, pop-up magnifier to make the display larger
A scissor-hinge lid for the ultimate in display flexibility
A 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).

U.S. Patent number: 6,504,707
Filed: May 11, 2001
Issued: Jan. 7, 2003
Inventors: Hiroaki Agata, Kenshin Yonemochi, Takehiko Noguchi, Hisashi Shima, and John Peter Karidis
Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)

In 2001, inventors from IBM designed a very unique laptop with a telescoping display.

According to the patent document:

"In consideration of the above described facts, it is an object of the present invention to provide a portable computer which is intended to be capable of adjusting the display's height and angle without deteriorating the keyboard's operability, and to make the operability be more favorable for a user in the adjustment of the display's height even when the place for installing the portable computer is restricted int eh rear space or the upper space. "

Figure 2 of the patent document illustrates how the display screen would extend up from the laptop's lid.

Image taken from U.S. Patent 6,504,707 - Digitized by Google

About

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 supp...