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Google patents self-aligning laptop display

The Pixelbook could one day feature a self-aligning hinge. (Source: Google)
The Pixelbook could one day feature a self-aligning hinge. (Source: Google)
An interesting Google patent points to a Pixelbook that could one day feature a self-aligning hinge. The technology would use a mix of ambient sensors

Google has been granted a patent for a motorized display hinge that automatically realigns itself to the face of a user. Naturally, as with all patents, it doesn’t mean that we will necessarily see the technology on its next Pixelbook, but it does provide an interesting insight into such a possibility. In this case, the patent was filed back in 2013 by Google Senior Design Engineer Ken Loo, who has also worked on Google’s self-driving car project.

The display in question would have a touch sensor on the lid that the user would touch to open when the notebook is closed. The self-adjusting hinge technology would use a mix of ambient light sensors and cameras connected to a motorized hinge that would open in perfect alignment to the face of the user. The angle of the display would be optimized according to the position of the user’s head.

This is a short section from the patent, describing the technology:

A portable computer that has a motorized hinge structure capable of moving the lid between an open and closed position. The movement of the lid is based on input from a plurality of sensors. One sensor may be configured to determine whether the user is within a predetermined threshold distance. Another sensor may be capable of detecting whether the user has made direct contact with the laptop. In one embodiment, the computer may have an image sensor configured to detect the user’s face and continuously adjust the angle and position of the lid to keep the face in the field of view of the camera and/or keep the lid in the optimum viewing position.

It’s an interesting idea, although it does sound like something we mightn’t see in the next couple of years at least. Personally, I’ve never dreamt of this type of technology, but it would certainly make like easier when you want to watch Netflix on your closed notebook and you’re carry a pizza in one hand and a beer in the other.


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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2017-11-28 (Update: 2017-11-28)