“What is that?” (followed by “Why would you…?”)

Over the summer I had the great fortune to meet Dr. Egert, one of the faculty at RIT and my mentor for this project. While cleaning his office, he found something rather unique – a laptop with a second touchscreen instead of a keyboard.

Image of the dual-touchscreen laptop. The second screen replaces the keyboard.

Whenever I explain what this is to someone, the follow-up question is always some form of “Why would you ever want that?” As a traditional laptop meant for typing, no, I would not recommend it, but as a designer I see that you don’t have to use it as a traditional laptop. Having more touchscreen space and no keyboard opens up a lot of doors for using different, and often more effective, ways of interfacing with users. Some of these are already common in the audio-visual industry, where control boards are used in the editing workflow so buttons, sliders, and the like can be used instead of needing to use keyboard shortcuts. And for those moments where you need it, a virtual keyboard still can be used.

This project will seek to explore this medium and create an interactive experience that can successfully utilize it. Further posts will talk about designing for this sort of medium, the debugging of the hardware I had to do, the experience I’m building, and more – so stay tuned!

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