Why should you use a lap desk or a desk stand with your notebook? Here's why.
The people who know about these things like the experts at the Ergonomic Departments at Cornell and Harvard University agree that 'the design of laptop computers violates a basic ergonomic requirement for a computer, namely that the keyboard and screen are separated. When the keyboard is in the proper position for the wrist, the screen is not at an adequate height for viewing and vice versa. To alleviate this potential problem we recommend the use of a laptop stand.'
They go on to say that you can cause serious injury to your body by repeatedly hunching over a notebook computer or by typing in angles that can bring on serious wrist injury.
There you've heard from the experts. But there are other reasons to use a lap desk or a desktop stand besides the ergonomic issue. The heat that radiates from the bottom of your notebook can make working on your lap very uncomfortable. Some notebooks get so hot that they can cause third degree burns to your private parts and that's no joke. (Click here to read the story about the guy who burned his genitals.)
The last issue with the heat build-up in your notebook is that is causes your computer problems. The heat not only slows down your computer's operation but a hot laptop can suffer from reliability problems and a system that overheats can fail. Heat is the number-one defacto killer of notebooks. The notebook makers don't talk about this but heat is what eventually causes your notebook to die ' the components literally wear out from heat fatigue.
A lap desk can and/or desktop stand can reduce or eliminate altogether the heat problem to your notebook.
This was a brief explanation as to why you should use a laptop stand with our notebook.
TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY SCROLL DOWN . . . .
Here's the long version of why you should use a lap desk and/or desk stand with your notebook.
Let's start with a quote from Cornell Universities Ergonomic Department, 'the design of laptops violates a basic ergonomic requirement for a computer, namely that the keyboard and screen are separated.' But as you know, that's not the case with laptop computers. The Cornell website goes on to explain why notebook design is a problem, 'The reason is simple - with a fixed design, if the keyboard is in an optimal position for the user, the screen isn't and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn't.'
Here's a quote from Harvard University's Ergonomics Department: The use of laptop computers poses an ergonomic challenge ' Laptops do not easily allow basic ergonomic adjustments since they have a fixed design. When the keyboard is in the proper position for the wrist, the screen is not at an adequate height for viewing and vice versa. Using a laptop, however mobile and convenient is a tradeoff between poor neck/head posture and poor hand/wrist posture. To alleviate this potential problem we recommend the use of a laptop stand. Laptop stands come in different sizes, styles, shapes and colors.
There you have it! An irrefutable source comes right out and says "recommend the use of a lapotp stand."
'Here's another quote from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 'Laptop computers are not recommended as primary computers. In the office or while at home, a docking station is recommended to provide adjustability which will enhance neutral postures.'
So the solution seems obvious ' find a notebook computer where the keyboard and screen can be separated. As of this writing (May 2008), that product does not exist. But there are ways to compensate which I'll review in a minute.
Another problem with notebook computers is heat. Notebook manufacturers are in a race to provide the thinnest form factor and most attractive notebook design and often times sacrifice form for function. Again, Cornell University: 'Modern laptops run fast microprocessors that can generate a lot of heat. The heat is mainly vented out of the bottom of the laptop but ventilation effectiveness is reduced when the laptop is placed on a solid surface or on your lap. A hot laptop can suffer from reliability problems and a system that overheats can fail according to Consumer Reports. The accumulation of heat within the notebook's housing can crash your laptop's processor and hard drive. Hard disk drives can overheat and crash, causing you to lose valuable data.'
But that's not the only problem with the heat that radiates from the bottom of a notebook computer. Here again is Cornell University: 'A hot laptop can be uncomfortable to use in your lap. The heat from some laptops can be enough to cause superficial skin burns, even through clothing! The Lancet medical journal reported (November 2002) the case of a healthy 50-year old scientist, fully dressed in trousers and underpants, who burned his genital area after placing his laptop on his lap for an hour.' Ouch!
According to these expert sources, it's clear that notebooks are far from being ergonomically ideal or safe for your health. They are detrimental to the notebook's processor, hard drive and even the battery. (Did you news stories in 2007 about exploding notebook?) And finally, they can burn your lap or at the very least make working on your lap for any period of time very uncomfortable.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ERGONOMICS: It's all about learning to live and work pain-free. In the past, 'Body Mechanics' was the buzz word for learning to live and work pain-free. Today the term is 'Ergonomics'. The basic concept of ergonomics is to work and play smart from a healthful stand point and avoid situations where you create discomfort or injury to your body. After a time of repeating the same uncomfortable body positions, your body can manifest injuries that are a result of using improper body postures or ergonomics. Learning to use your notebook in a manner that considers your long term health is important. Do not underestimate the importance of ergonomics. It could save you much pain and suffering down the road. If you're in doubt, consult an ergonomist.
Our Laptop Desks and Stands are all about convenience,
comfort and flexibility. All of our products are designed to
take the hassles and hazards out of using a notebook computer.
Don't be fooled by products that aren't adjustable forcing you
to adjust to them. Demand products that work the way you work
and don't settle for anything less.