5 Ways the Spacetop AR Laptop Makes Work Better and 5 Ways It Makes It Worse

For people whose lives and livelihoods depend on computers, having more than one or even two monitors is both a necessity and a luxury. You can only have so many screens on your desk, and you won’t be able to carry them around to bring your preferred workflow anywhere else. That’s why there has been a sudden increase of “multi-monitor laptops” on crowdfunding platforms, most of which are just short-term fixes to a lingering problem. Unfortunately, the ideal solution of having virtual screens floating before our very eyes is still a distant dream, but engineers and designers have been working on stop-gap options in the meantime. A new contender has just loudly announced its arrival, and while it looks a bit less ambitious than other AR solutions we’ve seen so far, it could also become the most usable and approachable of them all.

Designer: Sightful

In a nutshell, Spacetop is a laptop without a screen, whose lone monitor is replaced by AR glasses similar to those marketed by companies such as Nreal. Similar to those AR platforms, it promises a nearly infinite screen space where you can have as many windows open as your eyes can see. A key difference, however, is that you still have the usual keyboard and touchpad that sits on top of the computing guts, exactly like a laptop, making it sound more realistic compared to “air typing” in VR or AR. But while Spacetop sounds like a dream come true, it might also become a disaster for the well-being of already taxed and strained computer users. To see the forest for the trees, here are five ways Spacetop can be a boon to computer users and five ways it can be a bane instead.

5 Reasons Space is Great for Business

Infinite Monitor

Let’s face it, most of us would probably like to have as much screen space as possible if it were only physically possible. Although you will most likely just focus on one to three windows at a time, having easy access to other information without having to click around is still a great time saver. Monitoring the home security camera off to the side, keeping an eye on social media trends, and just having entertaining or inspiring content within your view are a lot better than seeing the clutter on your desk all the time.

Since that’s not possible in the physical realm, Spacetop’s solution resides purely in the virtual one. It’s not exactly the first to make that proposition, but it could turn out to be the most accessible one. AR glasses that don’t weigh your head down, a normal physical keyboard and touchpad, and a potentially more approachable price tag could finally make that infinite screen space dream come true.

Total Privacy

One reason why you wouldn’t want to have too many physical monitors is that you can’t really block off other people from nosing around your business. That’s also why those multi-monitor laptop accessories aren’t ideal in public places because it only increases the risk of people seeing what should be private and secret information. There are laptops and monitors that now implement a sort of privacy screen, but that only works on a single monitor.

Spacetop solves this by removing monitors altogether. In your own virtual bubble, you’re the only one that can see the contents of your screen unless you start sharing it with others virtually. But while this does address the problem of unauthorized eyes peeking at your non-existent monitors, it also means those next to you who need to see them won’t be able to unless you hand over your glasses.

Better Posture

While laptops are great at being portable, they’re terrible at being comfortable. The fact that the screen is permanently attached to the keyboard means you’ll always be craning down your neck, even if you have a gigantic laptop screen. That’s why even laptop owners would attach a desktop monitor at the office or at home to relieve some of the pain coming from that improper posture. Spacetop doesn’t have a screen, of course, so you’re free to raise your head to a more natural and comfortable height. There’s no need for ergonomic monitor stands or arms because there’s no monitor to speak of in the first place.

Laser Focus

Given Spacetop’s design, it supports a very specific use case, one that revolves around productively using computer programs for work and a bit of personal time. It puts everything you need in front of you and around you, effectively blocking out visual distractions coming from the outside world. Whether you let virtual distractions get to you is something you get to decide on your own rather than having other people decide for you.

At the same time, Spacetop is a bit restricted in the applications you’ll be able to use. Its Android-based operating system and mobile hardware dictate what apps you’ll have access to, which won’t include every software under the sun, especially those that require Windows or macOS (unless you have access to a remote desktop of some sort). It also means little to no gaming, which might sound ironic for an AR platform. There will probably be some ways to get past these limitations, but it won’t be as convenient an experience as on a normal computer.

Complete Freedom

With basically just the lower half of a laptop, Spacetop removes almost all physical restrictions of computing. The world effectively becomes your office, and you can set up your workstation anywhere you want or need to. You might not even need a table if you can comfortably balance Spacetop on your lap, just like what a laptop should be able to do.

This practically means you don’t have to worry about not being productive just because you’re away from home or the office or that you won’t be able to respond to emergencies without your trusty desktop monitor. In a nutshell, Spacetop frees you to be able to do your work or hobbies anywhere, but is that really a good thing?

5 Reasons Spacetop is a Bad Idea

Diminished Awareness

Augmented reality technologies have progressed significantly over the past years, but they still retain one significant flaw. Most implementations still cover a large part of your vision, and Spacetop pretty much makes it worse by having dozens of windows blocking the full range of your vision. Yes, you can limit the number of windows to just a handful, but that wouldn’t be getting the best out of its capabilities.

This, in turn, could affect your spatial awareness, effectively making you blind to what’s happening around you. Yes, there will be parts of your vision that won’t be covered by windows or the glasses, but these will just be in your periphery. This will be especially dangerous in public places where you should be more attentive to your surroundings than when you’re at home or in the office.

Social Isolation

Being able to focus on work in the middle of a bustling cafe is a good thing, but doing that among family, friends, and peers might be in poor taste. Sure, we’ll find people who are always glued to their phones, even in a circle of friends, but Spacetop takes that a step further by actually advertising your detachment from present company.

Even if socially acceptable, such isolation can also have practical downsides in a workgroup setting. Spacetop is a very personal and private experience, which also means you can’t quickly show your work to others unless it’s being shown on an external display. Even then, you won’t be able to see their natural reactions to your presentation unless all of them are on a virtual call anyway. Then again, that lack of natural response has been a recurring problem with Zooms and Meets, and those happen even on a normal screen.

Ergonomic Concerns

The lack of a laptop monitor does give our neck a bit of relief, but Spacetop doesn’t exactly solve everything else. You won’t need to lean to look at the monitor, but this virtual space won’t stop you from slouching instead. Neck strain can also come from a different source this time, like when you have to constantly turn sideways to view the nearly infinite amount of screens at your disposal. You’ll also have to wear the AR glasses the whole time, which can become uncomfortable for long periods, even for those used to wearing eyeglasses. Lastly, having displays or lenses so physically close to the eyes might have even worse ramifications compared to regular monitors.

Spacetop makes the dream of an AR laptop a bit more approachable by reusing the familiar keyboard and touchpad combo. Unfortunately, this combo is also one of the big sources of repetitive strain injuries, and this screenless laptop doesn’t exactly address that. In fact, it could make things worse by encouraging a mindset that thinks working anytime, anywhere is actually a good thing.

Limited Utility

The Spacetop’s laser-focus advantage could also be one of its weaknesses. Most of the examples shown off so far revolve around what would be considered “regular” office work, like making presentations, analyzing charts, responding to emails, and the like. This definitely covers a large part of what people use laptops for, but it’s hardly the most important one, especially for those who need unlimited screen space and the freedom to work anywhere inspiration strikes.

Designers and creatives, in particular, would benefit from having a larger canvas to put their digital content and tools on, and Spacetop can definitely help with that. These users, however, also often need specialized peripherals to do their work, like pens, MIDI instruments, and the like. You can probably attach these to the Spacetop as you would with a normal laptop, but it will be difficult to use them because of the visual occlusion. Suffice it to say, Spacetop’s design and focus seem to be biased towards office and knowledge workers that toil for hours on documents and data, which they can now do anywhere with fewer excuses.

Unbalanced Lifestyle

Spacetop is an interesting application of AR technology that makes this dream of an infinite number of monitors more relatable and approachable, not to mention a little bit more affordable. It lets people carry the equivalent of a gigantic screen that no one else can see, enabling them to truly work anywhere. It’s kind of liberating but also a bit worrying because it pretty much empowers a workaholic mentality.

People’s computers are often overloaded with desktop icons, files, and browser tabs, reflecting their own mental overload and often unbalanced lifestyles. Instead of helping them gain control over these and learn how to properly manage these things, this screenless AR laptop pretty much just gives them more room to stack more tabs and windows and do more work. And this time, their bosses can probably expect or even demand work to be done anytime, anywhere since they’d have all the space they need. At the end of the day, healthy well-being is the most important factor in productivity, and that’s not something you can gain just by having more screen space.

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How to design an ergonomic kitchen

Kitchen ergonomics is the science of designing a comfortable environment that adapts to the user and ensures smooth workflow with the least waste of time and energy. Ergonomics originates from the Greek word ‘ergon,’ which means work, and ‘nomos,’ which means laws. An ergonomic kitchen focuses on people, and it is the science of designing a comfortable environment for stress-free cooking. A kitchen is one of the home’s most functional areas where one needs to multitask and get involved in parallel activities like washing dishes, cooking, fetching ingredients from the refrigerator, operating appliances, and so on. Kitchen ergonomics aims to minimize body movements, enables one to maintain correct posture, and makes everyday cooking effortless so that it does not cause chronic pain or fatigue.

What are the advantages of an ergonomic design?

In recent years, ergonomics has become an essential feature in product design which is vital in determining the comfort of various products like a chair, tables, sofas, scissors, different types of accessories, and so on. In short, ergonomics or work laws are the optimizations of product design so that it works efficiently for human use. Similarly, an ergonomic space saves time and effort and ensures all kitchen activities function smoothly.

Designer: Unique Kitchen

What is an ergonomic kitchen?

These kitchens are designed as per the end user’s height, comfort, and working style. Note that kitchen activities like cooking, cleaning, dining, and entertaining might force us to stretch, and reach out for things, resulting in unnecessary bending and twisting or turning of the body that may result in stress. Hence, an ergonomic kitchen is designed to be easy on the back. It reduces the body movements and fatigue that one might go through while cooking and cleaning up.

Discover the science of some ergonomic principles that can make everyday cooking effortless. Factors like the height of various surfaces, distances, and placement of various items can improve the functionality and efficiency of the space.

Zone the Kitchen

The first step is to divide the kitchen into five zones: the cooking area (hob), washing area (sink), food preparation, and storage of perishable as well as non-perishable items. A good kitchen design understands the workflow of the user. The distance between these areas is considered so that one can shuffle between one activity and the other without crisscrossing or getting in each other’s way. For example, there should be ample space on both sides of the hob so that work people can simultaneously cook together if required.

Designer: Azzurri Kitchens

The Kitchen Triangle

An ergonomic kitchen triangle is a rule of thumb that has been used for decades and is fundamental to a good kitchen design. The three important areas of the kitchen include the refrigerator, the sink, and the hob; one can connect these areas with an imaginary line called the kitchen work triangle. There should be a clear, unimpeded path between these three points, and the distance between each of these areas should be minimized and unobstructed. This allows one to efficiently multitask between each of these areas for cooking, cleaning, and food preparation. Note that the length of each side of the triangle should range between 4 to 9 feet, and the length of all three sides, when added together, should range between 13 to 26 feet.

Designer: Elham Elezzi Design

Designer: British Standard by Plain English

Working height in the kitchen

The user does not have to adapt to the standard height of the countertop as it is tailor-made and customized according to the height of the actual user. The height of the countertop, storage, sinks, and oven head cabinets are customized to make it easy to work without exertion on the back. Also, one should easily access the overhead cabinets, so they should not be very high on the wall. Furthermore, all the utensils should be within the reachable height, and one should be able to operate the appliances easily without straining the back. The optimal working height of the countertop ranges between 85 to 95 cm. To be more specific, the elbow’s height determines the functional countertop’s height. The elbow should form a right angle 10 cm above the countertop when standing. Note that if there are disability and mobility issues, the countertop should be of lower height as per the user’s comfort.

The depth of the overhead kitchen cabinets should be around 38 cm so that one does not bump their head into these cabinets while cooking. Plus, the clearance between the countertop and the overhead cabinets should be at least 60 cm.


A well-organized kitchen boosts productivity and has everything in the right place. A combination of well-organized cabinets, kitchen tools within hand reach, and cleverly designed pullouts create a clutter-free space. Introduce organizers in differently-sized drawers so that they can be used for storing different objects and creating a neat environment. All the spices, oils, and pans should be near the stove. The liquid soap, dish sponge, and dishcloth should be near the sink. The waste disposal should be near the sink so leftovers from plates can be disposed of.

Designer: Sheerin Bespoke

Make optimum use of the corners of U-shaped or L-shaped cabinets inaccessible with corner modular accessories. Place cooking supplies and edibles in a single layer of drawers and segregate them as per their sizes to be visible in one go. A pullout pantry can ensure efficient storage and should be placed in one countertop corner. Place the plates, glass, cutlery cabinet, and dishwasher near the sink and store them neatly in the place where it is first used. Pullouts should open entirely to get a view of all the contents. Group all electric items, and it is recommended to go for awning-style top-hung cabinets and make them safe to use, considering they have the tendency to hit the head.

Designer: Novex Kitchen

Note: If you are a left-hander or a right-hander, organize the kitchen as per your comfort and how you intend to use it.

Good Lighting

Lighting forms an essential component of an ergonomic kitchen design. There should be ample general lighting where ceiling and pendant lights should be centrally placed. Since the overhead cabinets are projected, they cast shadows on the countertop, and this dark spot makes it difficult to see. Make provision for concentrated lighting above the cooktop so that the surfaces are well-illuminated with LED strip lights. It makes food preparation and cleaning much easier, reduces shadows, and creates a bright countertop. Overhead lighting will provide the necessary ambient lighting. There should be a window in the kitchen that can bring in maximum natural light during the day. Ensure the cabinets do not obstruct the sunlight entering the kitchen.

Designer: Berla Mundi


Hard flooring surfaces like tile and marble can take a toll on you. Softer flooring materials like cork and bamboo are accessible on the body, providing enhanced comfort and easing the joints. If the flooring is hard, opt for kitchen mats in front of frequently used areas like the sink and hob to add a little bounce to the step.

Designer: German Kitchens London

Their ergonomic solutions are bound to improve the interaction between men and the entire kitchen. Embrace the science of ergonomics in your kitchen design, as a good organization is an excellent method of minimizing unnecessary body movements while working in the kitchen.

The post How to design an ergonomic kitchen first appeared on Yanko Design.

This mouse pad with wrist support adds durability and hygiene by removing parts

Computers might be powerful machines that help improve our lives, but it’s almost a bit ironic that their extended use can actually cause us harm instead. Keyboards and mice are critical in being able to properly use these computers, especially desktop computers, but their designs are innately uncomfortable and even harmful to use for long periods of time. There are, of course, newer and more ergonomic designs for these devices, but those often require changing familiar habits and retraining muscle memory. For the rest of us, we have to settle for non-ergonomic mice, but fortunately, there are still ways to mitigate potential injury. This mouse pad, for example, comes with wrist support, but it changes the design quite a bit to improve the product’s value, both in functionality as well as aesthetics.

Designer: Wonjun Jo

Rendered on KeyShot: Click Here to Download Your Free Trial Now!

Mouse pads with wrist support aren’t exactly uncommon these days, and they even come in all sorts of designs and appearances. Although there are some people that doubt the effectiveness of these accessories, it’s still better than keeping our mouse hands unsupported all the time. The problem with the typical design of these wrist supports, however, is that the materials they use aren’t exactly made for longevity. Foams deform and become dirty, while gels burst and become useless. Mouse pads are cheap, of course, but this only means they contribute to unnecessary waste.

The Curble Mouse Pad is a unique design that sort of does away with the middle man in providing necessary elevation and support for the wrist. Instead of some material like foam or gel underneath some fabric, it uses a sort of foamy material that is hollow inside and divided into strips. The result is a more resilient type of material that can retain its form regardless of the pressure exerted on it while still remaining comfortable.


The end result is a mouse pad with a distinct design that’s not only built for durability but also for hygiene. The mouse pad itself is designed to be easily cleaned, and the wrist support can be detached for easier washing. In fact, the detachable design of the wrist support makes it possible to use it without the mouse pad part, something that could be more convenient on cramped desks or public spaces.

The modular design of the mouse pad is also useful in mixing and matching different colors and designs, which opens the door to potential branding and collaborations. Curble is definitely an interesting twist to the common and bland mouse pad design that achieves a distinct appearance while also improving its usability and longevity.

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Ergonomically designed hair-trimmer offers a great grip in a hyper-compact form facter

Unless you’re shaving your jaw, your hair trimmer doesn’t have to be in the shape of an ice cream cone. The conventional trimmer, with the long handle, isn’t particularly ergonomic when you’re using it in other parts of the body, so why do companies still make trimmers with that archaic template? Well, the QuickCut from Remington challenges the notion that a hair trimmer should be ‘handle-shaped’ by making it soap-shaped instead. Designed to provide a better grip with increased maneuverability, the QuickCut is perfect just because it lets you grip it naturally and move it around your body, whether it’s the top of your head, your body, or your ‘garden of masculinity’.

Designer: Remington Products

The QuickCut sports a puck-like shape that’s easy to grip and maneuver, sort of like an ergonomic mouse, a soap, or the gear stick of your car. Shorter and slightly wider than the traditional hair trimmer handle, this one allows you to naturally, and firmly hold onto it, easily allowing you to use it all over your body with confidence, while also ensuring the trimmer itself occupies less space when stored in your luggage while traveling too.

The way the QuickCut works is no different from any other clipper/trimmer. A motor and battery power the blades on the front, which can be used on their own for a clean shave, or with attachments for a fade or for retaining stubble or hair of a certain length. The power button sits right on top of the trimmer, but not immediately underneath your fingers. This means you’re less likely to shut the trimmer off by accident while shaving (something I do way too often with my current trimmer), and a charging port on the back lets you juice your QuickCut when its battery runs low. The entire trimmer can even be disassembled to make it easier to clean out hair from inside the trimmer every few weeks.

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Invisible shoehorn gives your back a break and blends into the background

We often take for granted how some of the most common tools are poorly designed until we have to deal with them, presuming we even have one around. Granted, not everyone might need a shoehorn to put on their footwear, but when you do, you might end up scrambling to look for one near your door. Worse, you might end up injuring your back because, while it’s designed to help slip your foot into your shoes, a shoehorn doesn’t take the rest of your body into account. Of course, that’s only true for your run-of-the-mill shoehorns that try to be cute and look like a small foot or something similar. A more thoughtful design would be willing to throw away those conventions and break stereotypes, like this rather striking shoehorn that doesn’t look like a shoehorn at all.

Designer: Kairi Eguchi  for Takeda Design Project

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You definitely wouldn’t recognize this shoehorn if you came across it either near the door or near a shoe rack. Even if you look closely at it, it would simply appear as a half-silver, half-clear rod that stands like a decoration to accentuate your home. It does serve that purpose when it’s not in use, but this “disappearing” shoehorn is definitely one of the most well-designed household tools of its kind.

When you pull out the metal part of the rod from its stand, you get a smooth, polished shoehorn that stands 700mm (around 27in) tall, tapering from the cylindrical handle down to a thin curved tip. At this height, it’s trivial to slip the shoehorn between your foot and your shoe without having to bend down precariously. It would have been simple enough to make a long shoehorn and call it a day, but the ALIGN LINE shoehorn uses that ergonomic design to create something not only useful but also beautiful.

The actual shoehorn is literally only half of the whole product. The other half is a clear acrylic holder that mirrors the shoehorn in shape. The transparent material of the stand creates a distinctive contrast with the stainless steel shoehorn, making it appear as if it’s floating in mid-air. It also helps the design blend with its surroundings, matching with whatever theme or motif you might have going in your home. The dome base is also made from stainless steel and has a low center of gravity to provide stability to the structure. It sits well below the metal tip of the shoehorn, reinforcing that illusion of a piece of metal floating in your house.

The invisible shoehorn’s thoughtful design carries over to the meticulous attention paid to crafting this tool. The shoehorn is carefully finished to ensure a smooth surface that won’t snag and tear delicate socks or stockings when you use it. Small details like these may be almost invisible to the eye but have a big impact in making this steel and clear shoehorn not only an ergonomic tool but also a thing of beauty.

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Foldable mouse concept combines two familiar designs into one ambidextrous design

Despite being the most popular pointing device for computers, the venerable mouse is filled with design problems that have never completely disappeared. Common mouse designs favor right-handed users, force people to choose between ergonomics and portability, and are often unattractive to behold. There has been a rash of concept designs recently that try to rethink the mouse from an ergonomic angle, and these often end up looking a bit alien and confined to be used on desks only. It’s almost as if there’s no way to combine all these great ideas together, which is what this particular design tries to disprove by reworking two of Microsoft’s most famous mice into something that could be used and enjoyed by almost everyone.

Designer: Carl Betterley

Microsoft has two kinds of computer mice that have become quite popular for almost opposite reasons. The older Arc mouse has a quirky shape that prioritized portability by folding flat when not in use. Unfortunately, this design limited the mouse to a narrow, almost rectangular shape that is practically uncomfortable, especially after long hours of work. The newer Surface mouse, on the other hand, has a fuller and more ergonomic shape but isn’t easy to stow inside bags because of its bulkier form. Combining these two contrasting sets of properties is one of the biggest design challenges for mice, and the Form Travel concept solves it in a rather interesting manner.

On the one hand, the mouse takes inspiration from the Microsoft Arc, with a core shape that is rectangular and flat. Like the Arc, it folds into a curved form when it needs to be used so that it can remain flat and space-efficient when it’s time to slip it inside a bag or briefcase. Unlike the Arc, however, it has a wider shape when, thanks to “wings” that fold to the side and are kept in place with magnets, giving your entire palm and fingers a place to rest.

This rather peculiar shape, which looks like a manta ray when unfolded and laid flat, also carries over one other benefit of Microsoft’s current mice. It can easily be used in either hand, with no predisposition for right or left hands. The “head” of the mouse is completely flat as well and uses gestures to implement clicking and scroll wheel actions. It’s more similar to Apple’s Magic Mouse in that regard, instead of a typical two-button mouse like the old Arc Touch.

One side effect of this creative solution is that the mouse actually takes up more horizontal space when it’s flat. That said, it will still be less than the surface area of a, well, Microsoft Surface. If you have room for a laptop or tablet, you will definitely have room for a wide yet flat Microsoft-inspired Form Travel Mouse.

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Ergonomic seat cushion is a doctor-designed lifeline for your lower back

Even before computers became a staple in the workplace, most office work required people to sit in front of their desks for hours. While it is often advised to stand from time to time or, better yet, to stand while working, that isn’t always an option in many offices. You can’t even have your choice of ergonomic chair to keep your back in a proper position and prevent long-term injury to your body from bad posture. The least that we could do is to add support to what we’re sitting on, but simple cushions just won’t do. That is where the Lifted Lumbar memory foam seat cushion comes in, allowing you to assume a proper yet comfortable posture while you’re sitting, reducing strain and protecting your health, even if you have to sit for hours to finish your work.

Designer: Dr. Aaron Fu, DPT

Click Here to Buy Now: $59 $129 (54% Off) Hurry! Just 11 days left!

Our bodies are designed to have a natural position when standing, sitting, or lying down. Deviating from those for long periods of time puts strain on parts of the body that eventually lead to injuries and other physiological conditions. Our spines, in particular, are said to have a “neutral position” when in perfect posture. Of course, very few people are able to maintain that perfect posture when sitting down, especially when there are just too many factors that make us slouch. Ergonomic chairs can help, but when you don’t have a choice of seats, the Lifted Lumbar is going to be your best bet.

Designed by a professional physical therapist with years of experience and research, this memory foam seat cushion gets your back into that neutral spine position while making it feel so comfortable that you wouldn’t have any reason to slouch ever again. Unlike other support cushions that advertise the same goals, Lifted Lumbar pays extra attention to the small things that make or break that comfy experience. For example, there are two trigger point knobs that gently put pressure on your back to provide added relief, ironic as that may sound. The cushion also has the effect of “hugging” your body to allow for better blood flow to your legs.

Lifted Lumbar is also made from the finest materials to give your body the quality experience it deserves, and it’s not just the memory foam. Actually, it’s a bamboo charcoal-infused memory foam that offers better cooling, kills germs, and is also more sustainable. Anti-slip silicone grips ensure that the cushion stays in place, and the adjustable posture straps are made from heavy-duty material to last a very long time. Best of all, the cushion is designed to be easy to carry, so you can use it anywhere, even on an outdoor bench that doesn’t have a backrest.

It’s no wonder, then, that the Lifted Lumbar is close to reaching $1,000,000 on its Kickstarter campaign, 1,000 times more than its target funding goal. Considering that a single Lifted Lumbar goes for only $59 for the Early Bird price, that’s a lot of people putting their trust in this doctor-designed cushion that will not only save their backs but also make them enjoy the best experience wherever they sit.

Click Here to Buy Now: $59 $129 (54% Off) Hurry! Just 11 days left!

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Modular laptop concept combines three computers in a more ergonomic design

Unless you are a PC gamer, you are more likely to reach for a laptop rather than a desktop. That might not even be completely true, given how many gaming laptops have been popping up every year. While laptops today offer powerful computing that you can literally carry around, it often comes at the expense of your comfort and your body’s health. Laptops are the least ergonomic computer designs around to the point that people often hook up external keyboards, mice, and even monitors to solve that problem. That solution, however, breaks apart when you need to work away from your desk and without those peripherals, so it’s more of a workaround than a proper fix. A better answer would be to change the laptop’s design without losing its portability, something that this design concept tries to accomplish in a very interesting way.

Designer: Johnny Jia-Sheng Chen

Despite its popularity and ubiquity, there are many ergonomic flaws in the laptop’s design. Even with a large screen, the display is way below the person’s normal eye level, forcing them to bend their neck. A laptop stand can help raise the screen, but that makes the keyboard unusable at that angle. The keyboard itself is a source of many bodily pains and problems, but the fact that it’s permanently attached to the laptop limits how you can solve the posture problem.

Named after soldiers that adapt to land, sea, and even air, the SEAL concept design transforms the laptop design that basically lets it function as a regular laptop, a desktop, and a tablet depending on the situation. And you don’t need any additional accessories to make that happen since everything is included in the design. In fact, the laptop includes parts you would normally use a separate accessory for, like a wireless charger for mobile devices.

Man in a tattoo salon. Guy working. Man create a new tattoo

A laptop that turns into a tablet is already commonplace today, but the way SEAL does it is quite different in the way that it combines different designs into one. You can, for example, fold the display completely backward like a Lenovo Yoga, but you can also detach the screen completely from the rest of the frame, almost like a Microsoft Surface Pro. If you do leave it on the frame, the other half of the laptop turns into a stand that props up the tablet at an angle for more convenient drawing.

Young woman working on a laptop, concentrating on solving a problem, study for assignment, texting with a friend.

What really sets the SEAL apart is how it can become a desktop computer or at least the likeness of one. The lower half of the laptop is actually made of two segments, one holding the removable keyboard and another holding speakers and a wireless charger. These two can fold independently and can be positioned to lift the display up to a more ergonomic height while still keeping the separate keyboard usable. Technologies that would make this design possible already exist, but it would still take a bit of testing and integration to make sure all parts work properly, whether together or apart. It is definitely a creative design that we wish major manufacturers would pay attention to.

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Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 Review: Simple Does It


  • Dedicated buttons for page turning

  • Very usable for left-handed readers

  • Runs Android 11 with Google Play Store support

  • Affordable price tag


  • No stylus support

  • No dust and water resistance rating

  • Not ideal for newspapers and magazines




The Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 offers a powerful, no-nonsense eReading experience wrapped in an elegant and ergonomic package with an accessible price tag.

Our smartphones are veritable gateways to wonderful new worlds, and tablets are their larger cousins that can expand your view, literally. The powerful features they provide and the colorful screens they offer rich experiences that fit perfectly with modern lifestyles. They come with a steep price, however, both literally and figuratively, especially when it comes to comfort and eye health. When you’re reading a lot of things, like books or even websites, a smartphone or even a tablet might actually be the worst device for you. Fortunately, eBook readers have been around for quite a while now, offering a much-needed reprieve and a better experience that now come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 is one of the latest to join that growing army, and we give it a thorough test to see if going back to basics spells its victory or its doom.

Designer: Onyx


Ever since the first generations of eReaders came about via Amazon’s Kindle brand, expectations of these devices in terms of aesthetics have been pretty low. They’re generally small slabs of black plastic that are handy, portable, and utterly uninspiring, designed to let you enjoy content without distractions or getting in the way. While the objective might have been good, it makes the presumption that book lovers don’t actually pay attention to the appearances of their reading materials, which is quite the opposite when you consider how much attention they pay to book covers.

Fortunately, the Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 has learned from the lessons of the past and arrives as quite a fine-looking piece of hardware. Yes, it’s still made of plastic, which has both advantages and disadvantages, and it’s a smudgy piece of plastic at that. You might find yourself obsessively wiping its back very often just to maintain its pristine appearance. It doesn’t have anything in the way of decorative elements, and the only parts that literally stick out are the power button and page turn buttons. It clearly embraces minimalism’s best aspects.

It also applies a design language that’s now common to phones and tablets, meaning it is largely flat on all sides, save for round corners. The edges are plain and clean, broken only by holes for the speakers, the microphones, the microSD card slot, and the USB-C port. The back is also completely flat, unlike the tendency of most eReaders to bulge a bit. Fortunately, it doesn’t affect comfort and usability at all.

The BOOX Leaf 2 comes in two colors that differ in minor yet significant ways. The black review unit that we have has the E INK screen completely flush with the frame, protected by a layer of glass. This makes it trivial to wipe off dirt or anything else that accidentally drops on the display. The white variant, on the other hand, has the E INK panel completely exposed but sunken into the body of the device. Its advantage is that there is no glare or reflection from a glass layer that could get in the way of your reading.


Despite their basic and almost crude looks, eReaders have always been designed to be easy to carry and hold in one hand to make reading for hours on end a comfortable experience. That has remained true save for larger devices, and the BOOX Leaf 2 is gladly no different. With only a 15g difference in weight (the black model is heavier because of the glass), both variants are light and small enough to carry in a large pocket. Given how some of Onyx’s devices have been growing in size lately, it’s definitely a nice break and a return to roots.

What makes the BOOX Leaf 2 even more ergonomic is that one of the edges extends a bit, forming an area that your hand can conveniently hold without accidentally touching the screen. Even better, there is a rocker button that you can press to turn pages, saving you from having to lift your other hand to touch or swipe at the screen. Admittedly, the lack of demarcation between the two halves of that button could be a bit disorienting but it is definitely not a deal-breaker.

Even better, the device has a G-sensor that can detect the orientation of the device and adjust its contents accordingly. What this means is that you can comfortably use the BOOX Leaf 2 whether you’re right-handed or left-handed since you can rotate the device to where you’re most comfortable rather than letting its form dictate the way you use it. This is one of the major flaws of eReaders with “spines” like this, so it’s great that Onyx has finally resolved it.

Like all E INK displays, the BOOX Leaf 2’s screen doesn’t emit light on its own, but it does include front lighting to let you read in the dark. These lights don’t shine in your direction, saving your eyes from strain. There are two lights, cold and warm, that you can adjust independently to mix to your tastes. Contrast can also be adjusted on a per-app basis, so you can have different settings for different reading apps, depending on what you’re comfortable with. All in all, the BOOX Leaf 2 lets you decide how you want to use it rather than dictating its terms.


Today’s eReaders are a far cry from yesteryears models when it comes to hardware and power. Although not in the realm of phones and tablets, the BOOX Leaf 2’s quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable memory are plenty for something that is designed for just reading. Then again, the device is definitely more than your average reading device.

It runs Android 11, which means you can install a wide variety of apps on it, even those that might not make sense on an eBook reader. It also supports running Google Play Store, and although it needs some extra steps to enable, you won’t have to go out of your way to get it up and running. These two facts alone open a whole world of content and uses for the device, including watching videos or playing mobile games. For reading, it also means you’re not locked into a single content provider and still have access to Amazon, Kobo, and other libraries of your choosing.

The BOOX Leaf 2 bears a 7-inch E INK Carta 1200 display with a resolution of 1680×1264, giving it a rather high pixel density of 300PPI. That means that content will always be crisp and clear, at least as far as grayscale content goes. It is definitely a pleasure to read eBooks and manga on the device, though the size makes it less ideal for certain types of content. You will find yourself pinching to zoom a lot on newspapers and magazines, which could be inconvenient but definitely not unusable.

Like almost all of Onyx’s devices, the BOOX Leaf 2 offers four display modes that speed up the refresh rate at the expense of resolution and quality. For the majority of reading content, you’ll want to be on Normal mode for the best quality with a bit of ghosting. But if you ever feel the need to watch black-and-white videos or play games, the fastest “X” speed will make do. The device does have two speakers and two mics for multimedia, but these are more for recording voice notes or playing podcasts than for a multimedia experience.

What the device doesn’t have is a Wacom digitizer layer, which means it doesn’t support the use of a stylus for taking handwritten notes or sketching. That feature has always been an extra for eReaders, though it has now become more common that even Amazon added it in the Kindle Scribe. It doesn’t take away anything from the BOOX Leaf 2, though, and its simplicity might actually appeal to more readers, especially those with more limited budgets.


Because of its plastic construction, the Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 suffers from the same sins as almost all eBook readers when it comes to environmental impact. There are some eReaders, including a few from Onyx, that do use metal, but these do come at the cost of adding some heft to the device. Given its objective to be a basic eReader, Onyx had to prioritize portability and price above other aspects, and we can’t really fault it for that.

What makes the overall longevity of the device a bit more worrisome, however, is its lack of any sort of dust or water resistance guarantee. Given how delightful it is to use, owners might be tempted to bring it anywhere and everywhere, forgetting that it might not be able to withstand accidents. That, in turn, would mean having to either repair or replace damaged parts, which adds to the BOOX Leaf 2’s negative impact on the environment in the long run.


Onyx is one of the most prolific eReader manufacturers these days, aiming at almost every market segment and price tier. Its most recent slate of devices has focused a lot on powers and features, even going as far as introducing a true Android tablet with an E INK display and user experience. Given that trend, some of the brand’s fans may have feared that Onyx has forgotten its roots and snubbed those with simpler needs. The BOOX Leaf 2 is clear evidence that it isn’t so.

At $199.99, the BOOX Leaf 2 is clearly targeted at entry-level users, those who just need a no-frills eBook reader with none of the extra bells and whistles. At the same time, however, the device isn’t really lacking in any feature, especially when it comes to support for apps and almost all kinds of digital content imaginable. As far as a comfortable and pleasant reading experience is concerned, the BOOX Leaf 2 comes close to perfect, and that price tag easily pays for itself over time if you’re any type of bookworm.


It might come as a surprise, but people do plenty of reading on their phones compared to watching videos or playing games. That includes reading from the Web or social media, activities that would eventually tire eyes out, if not damage them in the long run. E INK displays are designed exactly to make reading comfortable and enjoyable, and the Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 delivers that kind of experience in an ergonomic and flexible package. Sure, we wished the device had a more sustainable form and that the company would take bolder steps in that direction, but other than that, there are very few flaws to note on this device. Plain yet elegant, simple yet powerful, the BOOX Leaf 2 offers a well-rounded eReading device with a price tag that many will be able to reach.

The post Onyx BOOX Leaf 2 Review: Simple Does It first appeared on Yanko Design.

Kensington SlimBlade Pro is a stylish wireless trackball with HAL 9000 vibes

Tech companies and visionaries would have us believe that the future of computer interaction will all be either touch screens or holograms floating in front of our faces. Our present, however, is still very much tied down to indirect pointing devices like mice and touchpads. These aren’t the only input methods for computers, though, and some prefer a type that traces its origins even farther back than the venerable mouse. There are some people who still swear by trackballs that may now look alien to our eyes because of the convenience and precision they offer. Kensington is definitely still heavily invested in this market, and it just launched a wireless version of its elegant trackball that eerily calls to mind one of pop culture’s less savory AIs.

Designer: Kensington

Although mice became the predominant computer pointing device, it was hardly the first one. To some extent, the older trackball had an advantage in precision and economy of movement since you won’t have to lift and move the base around. It may look and feel weird to the majority of people who have grown around the mouse, but there is no shortage of professionals that find it more ergonomic and more usable. Kensington was actually one of the first to make the trackball popular with its Expert Mouse, and the new SlimBlade Pro tries to keep it ahead of the game.

The SlimBlade is one of the company’s most recent trackballs, and this new “Pro” model cuts off the cord to help keep your work desk neat and tidy. You can still use it with a USB-C cable if that’s what floats your boat, but its selling point is the wireless and Bluetooth connectivity options. It uses a built-in rechargeable battery that’s advertised to last up to four months on a full charge, freeing your mind of worries as much as it frees your desk of an additional cable.

The Kensington SlimBlade Pro definitely looks classy and refined on your desk without the wire. The base’s black surface contrasts nicely with the shiny red ball that serves as the main control of the trackball, almost like a crystal ball or gem that gives you power over your computer. Seen from the top, though, the trackball is almost like a glowing red eye staring at you, reminiscent of HAL 9000’s iconic and notorious appearance.

A trackball may now be the distant minority compared to even touch screens, but its design offers ergonomic benefits over a conventional mouse. The Kensington SlimBlade Pro even takes that to the next level by providing a finger-operated design that can be used by either the left or the right hand. It will definitely require retraining muscle memory, but for the professionals who have gone through that process, it was well worth the growing pains.

The post Kensington SlimBlade Pro is a stylish wireless trackball with HAL 9000 vibes first appeared on Yanko Design.