Laidback We “R” Inc.’s Laptop Laidback stand is primarily designed for use with conventional laptop computers and netbooks, but Laidback inventor and company president Doug Martell is an iPad fan and user, so he’s been experimenting with ways his product can enhance the iPad user experience.
Doug Martell bought his first laptop computer back in 1996. A high school physics teacher, he found the notebook a useful tool for shuttling work between home and school, but found liked to work when at home in a reclined position, and soon discovered that laptops, despite their name, are pretty uncomfortable to use on your lap, especially if you’re lying down. Not only are the ergonomics terrible for typing, but most modern laptops have fast processors that get mighty hot.
Doug began searching for some sort of device that could hold his laptop in a more comfortable position for this sort of use. Finding none, he retired to his backyard garage and cobbled up a makeshift laptop table and stand out of lumber and plywood—the first rough prototype of the Laptop Laidback workstation.
“It wasn’t pretty, or even especially stable,” says Doug, “but it worked!” Doug decided that a device like this could have commercial possibilities, and began designing a more refined prototype that could be mass-produced. He says that after having taught physics for 20 years at the time, he was probably “half an engineer.”
The first production version of the product was patented, and Martell formed his company—Laidback We “R” Inc.—to market Laptop Laidback over the Internet, beginning in August 1998. He says he has a soft spot for Apple Computer, which gave his new product a boost in the early days by providing a link from the Apple Website to the Laptop Laidback site. The original production Laptop Laidback was still a semi-custom made product, hand crafted using fine furniture finish Nova Scotia maple hardwood for its frame and a Melamine sheathed support tray. It weighed 4.75 pounds, measured 16 inches x 10 inches x 1.75 inches, and sold for US$89.00.
Over the next 13 years, the Laidback went through several revisions, and today it’s mass-produced in China from high-strength glass-reinforced ABS plastic, weighs less than three pounds, has a convenient carry handle, and once again sells for $89.00 U.S after substantial price inflation of the original wooden product through the ’00s. I wouldn’t want to be without mine.
Anyway, back to 2011 and Doug’s iPad, with which he says he’s been doing “a bit of homework” and has “discovered a magical combination”—to wit, a Laptop Laidback + iPad + Apple Bluetooth keyboard combo.
Here’s Doug Martell’s photo essay of what it looks like in use.
[All photos credit Doug Martell]
Laidback We “R” Inc. warrants its product for 1 year from date of purchase, and the product is sold with a “30-day money back” return policy with no restocking fees, but shipping costs in either direction are not refundable.
- Minimum Clearance @ 55 degree tilt ——- 4” (10cm) accompanying leg width – 19” (48cm)
- Maximum Clearance @ 55 degree tilt ——- 9.5″ (24cm) accompanying leg width – 24” ( 62 cm)
- At Maximum Clearance product can accommodate a 60” waist ( 152cm )
- 16″ (41 cm) x 11” (28 cm) x 2″ ( 5cm)
- Weight: under 3 lb. ( 1.36 kg )
- Material – Glass reinforced ABS
- Additional Velcro included for laptop-to-table security
- No tools required for assembly
Product [Laptop Laidback]