Browse Prior Art Database

(ISC) Self leveling device for a Thinkpad Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130149D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Oct-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-13
Document File: 1 page(s) / 25K

Publishing Venue



Disclosed is a device that can be incorporated into the rubber feet on the bottom of a laptop computer. Portable (mobile) computers have a tendency to not sit flat on a desktop or table. A warp in the frame, a warp introduced in manufacturing, or the presence of a seam in the table that the Thinkpad is straddling, can all create a rocking situation which can be very annoying to the user. To minimize the warping, Thinkpad (and other portable computer) developers have to utilize design, manufacturing, and quality assurance processes to prevent/screen out the problem, but these methods can drive product cost up and won't solve the problem if it is due to unevenness in the table top. Other solutions would be placing shims, like a folded piece of paper under one of the rubber feet on the Thinkpad bottom to eliminate the rocking. Of course, this is not a very elegant solution. The device replaces the solid front two rubber feet on the Thinkpad with a simple self-leveling device. It allows the Thinkpad to automatically compensate for warpage in its own frame or unevenness of the surface on which it is sitting. An added benefit is that the compliance in the self-leveling device will create some shock absorbing qualities for heavy-handed typists which may extend keyboard life.

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(ISC) Self leveling device for a Thinkpad

     The basic principle is to employ a simple hydraulic device consisting of two, hollow, fluid-filled rubber feet connected by a tube whose inside diameter is sized to give the appropriate resistance to fluid flow. The fluid, of course, should be a nontoxic, nonstaining, stable liquid. When the Thinkpad is placed on a surface, the foot that is pressing harder on the table will force fluid through the tube to the other foot causing the former foot to contract and the later foot to expand. The result is a new equilibrium where each foot has balanced the pressure supporting the Thinkpad. By keeping the tube diameter small enough, short duration pressure changes, such as keyboard strikes, will simply flex the rubber foot without driving fluid flow through the tube.

     To keep the implementation cost down, the leveling device can be a one-piece molded design that is secured into a molded channel in the bottom of the Thinkpad cover set. Refer to the attached drawing:

Use of a Self-leveling device for a Thinkpad Thomas Mazzeo Jan 5, 2005

Thinkpad - view from front, lid closed

Self Leveling Device (Shown uninstalled)

Solid rubber foot

Rear of Thinkpad

Solid rubber foot

Thinkpad - bottom view

Self Leveling Device (shown installed in molded channel in thinkpad bottom)

Front of Thinkpad


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