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Dual Monitor Laptop - Project

Overview

This dual-monitor laptop was created for the University of Wisconsin – Madison Innovation Competition. Each year the University challenges students with an invention competition. While the judges weren’t impressed with our creation, we realize (and utilize daily) the power of multiple monitors and we wanted to make a dual monitor setup portable so that we could use it while traveling.

Technologies Used

  • Compaq Presario 2701 (only one Chris could afford)
  • Avidav 15” LCD (cheapest one we could find)
  • Full size mill in the Automotive Shop (when the manager wasn’t around)

Basic Idea

We started with Chris' Compaq Presario 2100 laptop, since we wouldn’t feel terrible if it didn’t work by the time we were done. Basically Chris removed the bezel around the factory LCD and designed a bracket that would fit around the original LCD and support the second screen. He then went into the shop and milled down some aluminum channel to fit around the screen and my awesome supervisor at work (thanks again for all of your help Ralph!) welded the now very thin-wall channels together with a TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welder. Chris then spent about a week in the shop milling two small 1” by 1” by 1/2” blocks into a ball joint and bracket to support the second screen. (a saga in and of itself) He then created a bracket to fit around and support the second screen (which unfortunately would only mount upside-down due to the cheap manufacturers putting holes in only two spots on the LCD surround). The end result is a dual monitor laptop that had a second screen which was easily removable, folded behind the original, and didn’t increase the desk space.

Problems

The limitations are obviously the added thickness and weight, both could easily be trimmed by locating the power transformer off the back of the monitor and also using a laptop second screen (we didn’t because we couldn’t find one with the required resolution and a controller to go from LVDS [Low Voltage Differential Signal] to VGA) rather than a stripped desktop screen. The ball joint bracket that was made wasn’t strong enough to fully support the monitor as originally intended so a second contact pad was made for the side of the monitor to allow it to rest on the laptop side.

Where are they now?

Patents already exist that produce enough existing art for it to be a very difficult idea to patent. We thought of just making these adapters or extensions, but we don't have the facilities to produce our own laptop. :-(

If there is enough demand for these things, I am sure something could happen. :-) Tell us what you think:

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