Design Accessories

Being a major user of ThinkPad I am constantly looking for ways to keep mine up and running longer. I'm sure I am not alone in this quest. Extended batteries, fresh batteries, software settings, strategic placement of multiple AC adapters within the design center and my home all matter. I have also used AC/DC adapters to further extend my ability to power up in environments like cars and airplanes. Unfortunately , the category of AC/DC adapters has usually been secret code for thicker and heavier adapters. Not one of my favorite design attributes. We just announced a very exciting AC/DC adapter that finally solves the size and weight dilemma. My team did the design for the adapter working closely with the engineers to solve packaging and thermal issues in addition to creating the overall aesthetic impression. The case is more form fitting that a spandex catsuit. The complete kit is shown here. The product weighs in at a scant 425 grams and measures an inspiring 15.5 millimeters thin. This is nearly half the thickness of our previous version. Amazing! The ribbed texture was created to add stiffness to a very thin wall plastic case, provide a nonslip surface and dissipate heat similar to a more traditional heat sink. It also looks nice. I know this is top of mind so I'll...

Continue reading “The Power to Think”

We just introduced a very exciting new ThinkVision monitor that my team spent a great deal of time designing. Called the ThinkVision L190x, it is the best design we offer for muti-monitor environments. The border measures a ultra-scant 6.6mm. This is the narrowest border available in the industry. Hours were spent shaving off fractions of millimeters to achieve this goal. You will also notice a nearly black low-contrast Lenovo nameplate we created to remove visual distractions from your field of view. I think it looks great. The monitor has tilt, swivel, lift and even pivot capability. The monitor can be easily rotated to change from landscape to portrait viewing while the image will adjust automatically. The stand includes the same cable management feature we introduced on the 22" monitor earlier in the year. Also built into the design is a four port USB hub that makes connecting things like memory keys or our cool webcam easier. David Hill

Continue reading “ThinkVision L190X: You Can Never Be Too Thin”

Lenovo has designed and sold numerous monitors, but we just released one that breaks the mold in a few different ways. Our previous ThinkVision monitors have always been well designed with valuable ergonomics and image quality in mind, but our latest offering takes this to a higher level. Image quality is clearly at the forefront of the L220x's accolades, including the industry's first WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution in a 22" panel. It also includes a four-port powered USB hub, and rotates between landscape and portrait mode. We've done the rotate trick before, but never with a monitor so large and with so many possible cables attached. Cables are the enemy of rotating a monitor from landscape to portrait, trust me we've wrestled with this one before. Here we devised a clever rubberized clip that gathers the cables into one assembly and then gently loops them through the base. The loop is critical in making this all work. All the cables then neatly exit the stand through a mouse hole in the snap off rear cover. It's this type of attention to detail that makes or break the experience. Hopefully our customers will agree that these new features make for an enhanced view. You can see more photos here. David Hill

Continue reading “High Resolution, High Design: ThinkVision L220x”

Recently a human factors engineer from my team, Dr. Neil Ganey, led the usability research for a new mouse design. When Neil started working on the Laser Mouse, there was an idea in the usability team that the mouse should be silent. I actually liked the idea, but we decided that it warranted some testing. What follows is Neil's account of this endeavor: In our user testing sessions, we had a prototype of our mouse, our previous scroll wheel mouse, and two competitive mouse designs, one of which promoted “silent buttons.” When we analyzed the data, two very interesting findings came out. First, users did not like the feel of the switch that was used in the “silent” mouse. While this could itself be another topic altogether, it was one of the hazards that I had anticipated, since there is no clear detent when the mouse button is depressed. Second, and more interesting to me, was that users by and large did not like the fact that it was silent. This also came up in the after-task interviews. When asked to explain further, the users explained that they couldn’t tell when they had “clicked” the mouse button. When I asked whether they would prefer a model that was silent but felt like the regular mouse when they clicked the buttons, they responded that they would prefer a quieter sound to no sound at all. This led to a great deal of work focusing on the best tone and loudness of click sound. All in all, I think that the...

Continue reading “The Sound of One Mouse Clicking…”

In addition to computers my team also works on the design of many computer-related accessories. These are often little design jewels that allow designers to stretch their imaginations in areas they don't normally get to focus on. One such design is the newly introduced USB WebCam. The camera is very compact, includes two beam-forming microphones with noise reduction which separate your voice from ambient background noises. In addition, software cancels unwanted echoes during your calls so your voice comes through naturally on the receiving end. You probably won't even need a headset! It also sports a unique spring clip attachment method we invented that lets you attach it easily and securely to a thin notebook display or a traditional flat-panel monitor. It will also stand alone on a desk. But my favorite feature is the sliding lens cover design. This feature does more than protect the lens, it connects in a design sense to the famous Minox spy camera from the 1960's. Every time I use it I feel a bit like James Bond. It also gives you the added visual fail safe for knowing when the camera is transmitting or not. I like to call this "pajama mode". You can check out the details here. David...

Continue reading “USB Web Camera: Shaken not Stirred”