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Lying Down On The Job - Reclined Computing With Your Laptop

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

by Charles W. Moore

Many computer ergonomics experts have reached a consensus that the easiest-on-your-body posture for interfacing with a computer is leaning back or reclining. I can personally vouch for this, as I’ve been using a very clever but disarmingly simple device called a Laptop Laidback for reclined computing. The Laidback is basically a computer stand with an adjustable, inclined support tray that forms a “bridge” spanning your torso when lying down on a bed or sofa, letting your arms assume the recommended 90 degree elbow angle comfortably relaxed.

There are seemingly gazillions of laptop stand and laptop desk solutions on the market, but relatively few designed to accommodate working comfortably and with sound ergonomics while reclining in bed or on a sofa.

I struggle with some chronic health issues, and long hours sitting at my computer workstation can often get pretty exhausting and uncomfortable, so a stand that facilitates my being able to lie down on the job, so to speak, is a Godsend. However, even folks who are in perfect health sometimes like to use their laptops while relaxing recumbently for working, Web-surfing, or whatever, and another issue these days is that most laptops run plenty hot enough, thank you, without exacerbating the situation by insulating their bottom-sides with blankets or even your trousers, and there are the matters of comfort and burn-hazard as well.

For me, the gold standard of laptop stands that can be used in recline has for years been the Laptop Laidback, a Canadian product constructed primarily of solid maple hardwood with a fine furniture finish.

However, with more and more laptop users discovering the superiority of a good laptop stand or desk designed for computing in the horizontal position compared with balancing a ‘Book on your lap with awkward ergonomics and the blankets blocking the cooling vents causing the machine to overheat, there are now a whole raft of solutions entering the market, including a just-announced Version 3 of the Laptop Laidback. Below, you’ll find profiles of the various players I’ve been able to identify.


Laidback We “R” Inc. Launches Version 3.0 of the Laptop Laidback Table

The Laptop Laidback laptop stand for use in a relaxed, reclined posture is a longtime favorite of mine and I’ve been using one of them since 2001 - the original model made from solid Nova Scotia maple hardwood. It’s a high-quality piece of equipment, and notwithstanding the intensive use it’s received, it looks and feels as good today as it did seven years ago.

The Laptop Laidback is specifically designed as a laptop table that provides users the ultimate in comfort by providing them full control and flexibility to place the laptop in the best position possible, designed specifically to provide ultimate comfort for laptop users on a bed, couch, lawn chair, etc.

The Laidback makes it possible to optimize the ideal arm, hand, neck, shoulder, and leg positions recommended by ergonomists to maximize comfort when using a laptop computer. Comfort is key in this context When you’re comfortable, you are also pain and stress free, and can extend your laptop usage, be more efficient and effective, and can significantly reduce further stress on your body.

The correct position is to always have your upper arms and elbows resting on a flat surface (no reaching), so to ensure this the laptop table must be able to adjust up and down so your palms and fingers rest on the keyboard (without having to lift your elbows off the support surface). Laptop Laidback makes it easy to achieve this body English.

The patented new Laptop Laidback Version 3 will continue to be a boon to laptop users with disabilities, back problems or mobility issues. The product can be used in bed, on a sofa or in a recliner type chair, and is fully adjustable (to maximize comfort), easily stored, and portable.

Laidback is designed to be a dedicated-purpose product and to fulfill that purpose uncompromisingly well, so Laidback We “R” Inc. don’t recommend purchasing it to eat snacks on, use as a TV tray, or a perch for the bird. The product is specifically designed for laptop users who want to maximize comfort in the horizontal position, although that being said, they do have customers that have found other uses for Laptop Laidback such as a stand to rest a book on while reading in bed.

How strong is Laptop Laidback? It will hold up to 22 lb., which is well in excess of the heaviest Mac laptop ever built.


Laptop Laidback is claimed to be easy to assemble without the use of any tools. A simple diagram printed on the back side of the laptop table walks you through the process, and it reportedly takes about 1 minute to assemble, or less once you;re practiced.

The Laidback 3 is made from an engineered polymer which delivers strength, light weight (under 3 lb.), and durability.

The product measures 11 inches by 16 inches.

Laidback We “R” Inc. warranties its product for 1 year from date of purchase, and the product is sold with a “30-day money back” return policy with no restocking fees but shipping costs in either direction are not refundable.

Laptop Laidback 3 sells for $99.99

I can’t wait to get my hands on a review unit!

For more information, visit:


Lapdawg Multi-Purpose Laptop Desk

Pitched as “The Swiss Army Knife of Laptop Stands,” the Lapdawg is a multi-purpose transformable table tray to help you organize, eat, study, write or compute comfortably in a variety of home and office environments and postures.

Constructed from aluminum, the Laptop is almost infinitely adjustable and configurable, with a system of two triply-articulated locking leg limbs attached to each other and the central laptop (book, breakfast, etc.) tray via 360° incrementally locking joints, allowing almost endless potential for configuration to accommodate whatever you need the stand to do.

The central tabletop or tray is reversible, with ribbed for slip-resistance plus a wrist rest faced with soft rubber, while the flip side provides a smooth surface on which to work comfortably with a raised, rounded edge that prevents pens and pencils from sliding off.

And the whole thing can be folded flat into a 1.5” x 19” x 9.5” slab in a few seconds for convenient storage under a bed, in a closet, or behind a sofa.

Aluminum being an excellent conductor of heat, the Lapdawg also serves as a passive heat sink and radiator to help keep your ‘Book running cool.

The Lapdawg will accommodate virtually any laptop computer,, with ample room for even the big 17” MacBook Pro and PowerBook. There’s room for mousing with narrower machines. Indeed, one criticism of the Lapdawg is that its generous width (19”) makes it impractical for use on a sofa or chesterfield, compared with, say, the Laptop Laidback. And while the unit is relatively light at 5.29 pounds it is very bulky for packing along on road trips.

With the three leg limbs plus the support tray itself all articulated at 10° increments, getting it all configured with both sides symmetrically synchronized takes a bit of concentration, although the adjustments themselves are simple and quick with the spring-loaded pushbutton adjusters at each joint hinge. I did find that the pushbuttons have a tendency to sometimes stick in the depressed position, but were easy to pop back into their locked position with another press. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, the setup goes much more quickly.

For use on a bed:

However, lying-down computing is only one of many uses the Lapdawg supports, others being a desktop laptop stand to raise the computer to a comfortable viewing level for use with an external keyboard and mouse, a breakfast table, TV dinner table, reading stand, study table, bed desk, or as a lap desk.

The Lapdawg sells for $130 (U.S. or Canadian), shipping included.

For more information, visit:



Wizard Multi-Configurable Laptop Stand from Lapworks

For s description of the Wizard from LapWorks refer to the section on the LapDawg immediately preceding, since the two products are virtually identical -- the only significant difference I can detect is the Lapworks logo on the Wizard, and it’s hard to imagine that both products don’t roll off the same assembly line in China.

The Wizard sells for $99.95

For more information, visit:


Acrobat Laptop Stand

Also marketed by LapWorks, the Acrobat Desk Stand is an all-purpose, off-the-lap, platform for notebook computers, lifting notebook off-your-lap and positioning it for easy viewing. The Acrobat DS improves the ergonomics of using a notebook computer by providing an infinite number of adjustments in height and angle. This product is made of Aluminum and is therefore extremely light weight. The Acrobat DS can be set-up in bed, on a sofa or chair, on the floor and even as a desktop stand.

The Acrobat DS has two sets of multi-positionable legs that lets you comfortably position your notebook while in bed, on the floor, on a sofa, in an easy chair, at your desk or just about anywhere.

The Acrobat’s “Table Top” that the notebook sits on has a “3/8” lip” at the front edge that holds the notebook in place. Attached to the lip are these two sliding supports with foam pads that cushion the notebook and prevent scratching. These supports can be re-positioned so as not to interfere with front-loading CD compartments. Fully detailed (with diagrams) instructions are included on the back of every Acrobat Desk Stand.

I’ve tested the Acrobat stand, and its Rube-Goldbergian foldup design is almost gratuitously clever, but perhaps a bit excessively complex and possibly fragile.

I also found that the tray is positioned too high for comfortable typing when reclined, and on a bed with a mid-sized laptop like my Pismo its light weight and “short wheelbase” conspire against it making it too easy for stand and computer to topple over backwards. Maybe OK for a really light computer like a MacBook Air?

Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Table Top Size: 9.75” x 14” x 0.5”
Positioning Controls: 2 tightening knobs and two snap tension clips
Maximum Weight Load: 10 lbs.
Colors Available: Blue, Black, Silver
Material: Aluminum & ABS Rubber
Folded Size: 15.25” x 10” x 2.25”
Warranty: One year on materials and workmanship

Price: $69.95

For more information, visit:


Espresso Folding Bed Desk

Constructed with a handsome espresso wood finish and oil rubbed bronze metal finish, this work space features an adjustable height, so it can be used as a lap desk or a bed desk when you simply can’t drag yourself out from under the covers but still want to be productive! Workspace measures 14” H x 22” W.

Espresso Folding Bed Desk - $19.99

For more information, visit:

Or call:
1-800-GO BEYOND® (1-800-462-3966)


Laptop Bed Desk, Dark Walnut

Relax on the sofa or compute in bed with this ergonomically designed laptop bed desk. Two magazine-sized holders flank a center desktop that can be laid flat for laptop computing and writing or tilted up to hold your ‘Book or book for easy typing or reading.

Approximately 9”H x 26”W x 15 1/2”D, this solid hardwood bed desk is delivered to you fully assembled. Attractive dark walnut finish.

Price: $54.99
Sale price: $44.99

(Cannot ship outside USA)

For more information, visit:


The AirDesk Swing-Away Laptop Computer Desk / Stand

Let the AirDesk laptop desk turn your sofa, recliner, bed or car into an ultra-comfortable workstation. Work for hours on your laptop computer in unbelievable comfort.

Standard AirDesk for any chair, recliner or sofa.

Tall AirDesk for everywhere, including your bed.

You no longer need a dedicated office to surf the web or work at home. Work for hours in total comfort with the new Air Desk. Watch DVDs, game, work or surf in the comfort of your living room or bedroom. Unique, zero footprint design frees valuable living space. Slide the thin Air Desk base under furniture if needed. No more stuffy home office. No more baking legs, no more hunched back. Sit back, relax, enjoy, life!

Styled for the living room or the boardroom, the Air Desk is totally functional and unobtrusive. Securely supports any laptop for any sofa, recliner, chair or bed. No more clunky office desk in the home.

Ideal for any living room, enjoy the family and watch TV while you work, surf or play. To stand, simply swing the computer away. All cables are bundled together along the frame and swing away with the computer. Sit down and swing your computer back. Right side, left side, no problem.

The unique, ultra-thin base slides under your furniture’s legs or castors for maximum usable floor space. The elegant Air Desk is beautifully styled, sturdy and truly a pleasure to use. Kick back and enjoy!

The Tall Air Desk has all of the great features of the Standard Air Desk plus it has the added height necessary for computing in bed or while standing.

It is designed for for bedside but will work anywhere you need extra height for your laptop. Set it next to your bed and swing your laptop toward you. Your laptop is suspended over your lap while you rest comfortably in bed. Compute in total comfort.

Since Air Desk’s patent pending design allows you to position your laptop at just about any angle, you will love the ease of computing without leaving your bed. The mast measures 42-inches tall and gives you the same space saving, infinite positioning features as the standard height AirDesk.

Tall Air Desk:
Price: $165.00

Tall Air Desk w/ 1 AirShelf
Price: $179.00

Tall Air Desk w/ 2 AirShelves
Price: $195.00

For more information, visit:


Lounge-book Freestanding Reclining Laptop Stand

The new Lounge-book from Lounge-tek of Verona, Italy, takes a different and somewhat more versatile, albeit bulkier and more complex approach to achieving similar relaxed computing body English, with the advantage that it can be used in a greater variety of modes more or less wherever you want: in an armchair, on the sofa, on a chaise-lounge or in bed.

Rather than resting on the surface that’s supporting you, the Lounge-book incorporates a floor-supported, adjustable-height pedestal that cantilevers the computer tray over your lap, adding a handy mousing (or whatever) flat surface atop the pedestal column itself.

The Lounge-book is symmetrically ambidextrous and you can use it either from the right or on the left side at adjustable heights. The computer support tray surface is perforated for more efficient cooling, and the pedestal support arms are just 3 cm in dimension, which allows placing the Lounge-book more or less anywhere that has that much ground-clearance and perfectly positioned.

Like the Laptop Laidback, Lounge-book is a piece of industrial design art that compliments your furniture, as its manufacturer affirms integrating your notebook with the personality of your house and lifestyle. You have the maximum freedom in finding your ideal combination thanks to availability of seven models.

There are several potential Lounge-Book use modes:

Chaise-Lounge Use

An ideal method for relaxed use of your notebook, comfortably lying in the most ergonomic position there is.

Its not by chance says Lounge-tek that the company logo has been designed to symbolize this position, representing the perfect philosophy of the comfortable and ergonomic use of a notebook. The Lounge-tek approach goes far beyond the utilitarian function of the technical instrument to arrive at a real and proper style.

In Bed

At home or in an hotel, Lounge-book allows you to do what you’ve always wanted to do with your notebook (or at least I have, anyway), comfortably using it while lying on your bed.

The 35-degree inclination angle permits the support tray to be adjusted optimally to work with your notebook at the most comfortable angle and at the same time providing better air flow for the cooling outlets of the computer.

The suspended structure allows you to locate Lounge-book at the right height to avoid putting weight on your body and at the same time to reach the keyboard with your fingers while supporting your arms on your elbows, guaranteeing a natural position for your arms and head.

In An Armchair

You can also use the Lounge-book while sitting in any chair that provides enough clearance for the pedestal support arms.

In The Garden Or On A Verandah

On a deck chair in your garden or porch or on a deck or verandah, Lounge-book adjusts to any height, while the notebook support can be regulated to the ideal angle of inclination, and if you don’t use Lounge-Pad for mousing or to support your mobile phone, you have the space to park a drink safely below the plane of the computer keyboard.

Public Use

Lounge-tek even negotiating with different suppliers to make the Lounge-book available even when you are in mobile mode:
-While are waiting for a flight
-In a hotel at the lounge or room
-In a conference room or during a course
-In waiting rooms and in health care structures

Lounge-book is a “green” device, manufactured using materials and varnishes approved by the European Union in terms of protecting workers’ health.

Lounge-book comes in your choice of seven colors.

Shipping to USA and Canada is under the same terms as to European countries with payment accepted through PayPal

A Lounge-book Standard costs 99.00€ + transport 15.00€ =114.00€ or about $180 at current exchange rates including Duty and Tax and UPS delivery.
Delivery takes approximately a week.
For more information, visit:


CUZZI LM1 Laptop Over Bed Table - Sit , Stand Or Bed Operation

Finally a practical solution for using a laptop virtually anywhere: sitting, standing, in bed, in front of a sofa, etc.. Used at the home, hospital, assisted living facilities, at the office as a return with a regular desk, standing -for presentations, etc.

The original CUZZI LM1 laptop rolling tray stand allows height adjustment from 26 to 38”. It is almost 32” wide, ensuring space for the laptop PLUS a mouse, paperwork, etc... The table top also tilts both ways.

* Reinforced thick H-type framing + Four 2” casters, sets it apart from its many imitations. The “H” shaped base (vs. the economy “T” versions in the market) ensure better mobility and sturdiness. Two wheels are lockable. The edges of the tabletop have a 10 mm. elevated lip to prevent elements from slipping off the surface.

A quick way to create extra workspace in the office, conference room, home-office, trade shows, etc. It can also can hold light office equipment, such as printers, scanners, fax machines, etc... or even a second LCD monitor.

Dimensions: (31.5” W) x (14” D) x (26 - 38” H)

- Height is adjustable in increments of 1”, from 26 to 38”, allowing standing operation

- “Headroom” required for sliding bottom frame under a bed or sofa: 4” w/casters attached; 2” w/o casters attached (please check before ordering).

List Price: $190.00
Super Sale Price: $125.00
+ Shipping: $32.00 (flat rate continental US)

SOLD OUT until approx. 08/20/08. You can still back-ordered and ensure the present sales price. Product will ship as soon as received.

For more information, visit:


Laptable Reclining Laptop Stands From Poland Via The U.K.

Getting tired of hot legs and short battery life while working in bed on your laptop?

Then you know the scenario. The laptop becomes hot quickly, starts to slow down and then your battery life goes right out the window. Why is this ?

Every laptop producer, in the manual, indicates that a laptop should be put on a hard surface that doesn’t block the air vents. When you hold a laptop on your knees, you block the required ventilation needed to prevent a computer from getting damaged.

The Laptable is the solution you’ve been waiting for!

By using the table, you can now work efficiently while lying in bed or while sitting on the sofa, and best of all, without the heat. There’s no more worrying about your battery running out of life so quickly. The Laptable warrants the correct ventilation for laptops thus protecting them from overheating. Now you can lengthen the life of both your battery and your computer.

Due to the regulated table height and a specially designed mouse tray, it ensures comfort while working in bed or on the couch.

Also, thanks to this table, every morning you can surprise a loved one, bringing them breakfast in bed! The Laptable is also very handy when serving an ill person who can’t get out of bed.
With adjustable height and angle the Laptable is additionally ideal for comfortably reading or writing, and you can work comfortably on the sofa.

The Laptable sits across your lap whilst you are on the sofa or in bed, allowing you to work on your laptop without the device (and yourself!) overheating. To make you feel comfortable, it is equipped with an adjustable base and a mousepad. All the models except Laptable Original have a novelty cup holder, which allows you to enjoy a drink without risking spillage.

The Laptable is available in models for right and left handed people.

The Laptable is hand made by a family business in Poland from a high-class alder wood which was covered with an ecological impregnate to ensure durability.

There are 5 models of Laptables

Laptable 15
Suitable for laptops with 15,4’’ diagonal screen size or less
Price : £ 49

Laptable 17
Suitable for laptops with 17’’ diagonal screen size.
Price : £ 59

Laptable Original
With its centre position this model compromises the mouse pad and cup holder for a more comfortable position.
Price : £ 45

Laptable XXL
Model with long legs. Best choice for tall people and pregnant woman.
Price : £ 65

Laptable DUO
Model with two mouse trays, suitable for left- and right- handed persons.
Price : £ 70

Laptable DUO is suitable for laptops with 17’’ or smaller diagonal screen size.
The Laptable base can be adjusted in height and angle. Double-reinforcement of legs makes them stable, and there is a separate platform for a mouse to help you work more efficiently.

The Laptable base can be adjusted in angle and height, while a magnet holds the base closed when in the flat position. The magnetic field is minimal and it is safe for your laptop.

These practical tables are not just handy but stylish too, being hand made from high-quality alder wood.

After folding in the legs, the Laptable can be hidden, for instance, under a bed.

Laptable 15,17 and XXL can be equipped with a drawer instead of a cup-holder for an: extra £5. Dimensions of the drawer are 15cm x 14cm x 3.5cm, making it ideal to store CDs or a mouse, and made solely from wood. There are no metal elements.

Laptable accepts Paypal payments, credit cards and bank transfers.

For more information, visit:


DIY Laptop Bed Tables

If you’re handy with tools, you might find the following plans offered would make an interesting and practical do it yourself project.


Attached In-Bed Computer Desk

If you’re a person who needs to use the computer while laying in bed, likes to make things or knows someone who does, and has a little pocket money, then this is the desk especially for you. This detailed plan with seven pages of illustrations and these construction notes is available right now free for instant downloading over the Web.

This In-Bed Desk attaches to a plywood base. The bed sits on this base and its weight keeps the desk from falling over. This allows the desk to be used with a bed that sits directly on the floor and does not have any open space under it.

This desk is designed so that it can be built by amateur wood workers using only a few hand tools and at a reasonable cost. It features the use of factory sized lumber and moldings thus eliminating the need for a heavy power saw. All the materials can be bought at your local home improvement store for about $140.

This design includes seven detailed sketches.

For more information, visit:


Indestructables Over-The-Bed Computer Cart

Here’s another idea for a DIY laptop in bed solution.

For more information, visit:



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