First Look: A cooler/desk hybrid that makes laptop use practical again

Despite the name, it’s pretty well known that laptops just aren’t suitable for lap use. Whether due to the instability that the thighs (as a surface) produce or due the heat that is generated as we send the devices into overdrive, it’s generally preferable (and recommended by the manufacturers) to just stick the damn thing on a desk and get on with it. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that the long-term heat exposure that stems from laptop use can cause Toasted Skin Syndrome. As such, some people invest in impractical coolers, either active or passive, to provide some additional ventilation, but these don’t tend to cater for the lap users.

That’s where an unusual innovation that recently passed through DX Towers comes into play.

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Designed and built by Luke Hansford, a sixth form student at Christ’s Hospital School, the as-yet unnamed device converges a laptop cooler, standing and sitting desk and a desk tidy into one package. The unit, which I tested in early prototype form, is constructed from metal, wood and plastic, but it’s not exactly the sleekest solution I’ve seen – this is not going to fit in your bag for the commute. Nevertheless, it’s a great setup. The contoured acrylic base allows for a fantastic chair-centred work experience that combines the convenience of being able to sit anywhere with a functional and spacious working surface. Contrarily, when placed on a standard desk, you create a quick and convenient standing desk solution thanks to the added elevation.

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In terms of cooling, a yellow wire coming out of the rear with a thermistor on the end leads to a circuit and an active fan system underneath the isometric metal surface. Theoretically, the thermistor will kick the fan (powered by a pair of 9V batteries) into action, although trying to secure the thermistor to the warmest points of the laptop was impossible without some Blu-Tack. At this point, running Kerbal Space Program, The Walking Dead and Bioshock Infinite simultaneously not only generated enough fun to power the circuit, but also sent my laptop fan into overdrive and awoke the circuit below.

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As this is only an early prototype, modifications and refinements are afoot. Currently, he upper metal layer is vulnerable to a bit of flex when heavier machines adorn it and rotating wooden desk tidy element, while splendid for stashing away pens and other assorted desk ornaments, can dig into those among us with rounder figures. The temperamental thermistor, too, may also be adjusted to ensure more consistent action, although the perforated metal sheet does provide ample ventilation and increased airflow while remaining aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps the 9V batteries could also be phased out in favour of USB power draw, which would reduce the running costs yet further, while the thermistor system will also surely become more discrete as the prototype evolves.

Though no wide production run has yet been confirmed, it is estimated that, upon an eventual launch, the contraption would cost around £50. Make sure to follow Hansford on Twitter for updates as the project develops.

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Digixav Podcast 011 – June 20th 2013

It’s been a bit of a crazy week, best epitomised by John McAfee going mental. There’s also been a trailer for The Lego Movie, an Xbox 180 and even a new portrait QWERTY phone from NEC. Less excitingly, Samsung, Instagram and HTC all hosted events, while Nokia promised one in early July. As ever, Chris and Xavier digest it all so you don’t have to, and Henry calls in for the final seconds despite our plethora of technical issues.

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear what you think!

Right click and save this link to download, and you can now subscribe (and rate and review the show) using iTunes! Don’t fancy iTunes or use a different podcatcher? Here’s our RSS link!

You should also check out our intro music on SoundCloud! It’s Melodic Trap by Harry Ling.

Samsung Premiere event liveblog: live now!

We know what we’re going to see, with Galaxy and Ativ stuff having already been leaked and, in some cases, announced, but that’s not going to take away our liveblogging fun. Henry and I will be providing our usual dose of snark and sarcasm along with the news from Samsung’s London event, so join us for a magical journey (if IFA 2012 is anything to go by).

Click here for the liveblog

Digixav Podcast 010 – June 7th 2013

Henry makes a triumphant return to the show after Chris and Xavier break the biggest story of the week, in that you can now subscribe to and rate us in iTunes and all other leading podcatchers! Do that now! Please! We beg you!

There’s also a bit of minor tech news to go through, such as Apple’s new iPod Touch, Googlified editions of all your favourite Android phones, diminuitive and rugged editions of your favourite Samsung Galaxy S4, white editions of your favourite LG Nexus 4 and how the Nokia EOS leaks are probably deliberate ones from Nokia. There’s also the small matter of Computex craziness from Asus, Acer, Dell and Sony to go through, before a regular culture section dissolves into hardcore critiquing of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear what you think!

Right click and save this link to download, and you can now subscribe (and rate and review the show) using iTunes! Don’t fancy iTunes or use a different podcatcher? Here’s our RSS link!

You should also check out our intro music on SoundCloud! It’s Melodic Trap by Harry Ling.

 

Digixav Podcast 009 – May 28th 2013

Digixav Podcast 009

What would a Digixav Podcast be without a serious discussion about songs that deal with adultery in all its various forms and hipster racing cars? Not episode 9, that’s for sure. This time Xavier and Chris talk about the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and various facets of Samsung and HTC before delving into the more underground side of tech with chat about Jolla, the gold PorscheBerry and a game that comes with a free supercar as a pre-order bonus. Chris also keeps shouting “GEORGIANA STARLINGTON” and something about cream cheese bagels, while Xavier begins to formulate some Xbox and Glass app ideas for the folks at Bang With Friends.

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear what you think!

Right click and save this link to download, and why not also subscribe to us in your favourite podcatcher? Use this RSS link!

You should also check out our intro music on SoundCloud! It’s Melodic Trap by Harry Ling.