We've all been there -- it's a beautiful day outside and you're stuck inside working on a computer so you try trotting outside with your laptop to absorb some rays and do work at the same time. But, alas, the sun drastically overpowers your notebook screens backlight and you can't see a thing. Interestingly, there was a device invented by Lenovo for the 2000 Olympics to solve this problem but that is no longer sold.
Okay, so you can see from the above picture this "hood" that fits over your notebook screen to block sunlight is maybe a little weird. But it does offer two things:
The hood actually looks a lot like the device NFL referees use in American Football to view replays:
With a privacy hood the referee is able to clearly see a replay without the sun reflecting off of or washing out the TV he's viewing, and the players and coaches can't go and stand over his shoulder to give their own "interpretation" of what they see.
IBM actually designed the laptop shading hood after complaints from Olympic officials in the Atlanta 1996 games. IBM provided the notebooks used during those Olympic games, but officials had a hard time seeing the screens in the outdoor events. So for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney IBM (now Lenovo) issued these sewn fabric structures with rigid plastic inside as a way for officials to shield their screens. Apparently it was a success with the officials, who used it widely, and the hood device was sold briefly with branded Olympic rings to the public.
Above is a picture of the shader Lenovo designed, it fits various screen sized notebooks because it fits on the screen like a sock. It also folds flat for storage and carrying.
David Hill, a notebook product designer at Lenovo and writer on LenovoBlogs.com asks whether people would be interested in buying this device if it were offered for sale again. After all, with more people using notebooks now than in the past, maybe the demand is there? David offers more description and background on this notebook screen shade in a very interesting post.
And as an aside, I highly recommend checking out LenovoBlogs.com "Design Matters" blog to read and find out about the thought that goes into the design of notebooks and give feedback directly to the guys that make decisions!