When you think of a tablet stand, you probably picture a case or kickstand that props the screen up on a table for typing, movie viewing, video chats, and the like.
But what if you could position your tablet just about anywhere -- across your bed while you're lying in it, above your desk while you're standing at it, or even over your bathtub while you're soaking in it? As if you had a tireless third arm that could hold it at virtually any viewing angle.
That's the idea behind The Right Arm, a Kickstarter project that's already hit its $40,000 funding goal -- but still deserves a look.
The Arm consists of a two-foot steel flex-pole that uses a steel C-clamp base to attach to a desk, nightstand, treadmill, or just about anywhere else. At the other end: a tablet-size adhesive gel-pad that can hold your tablet even when it's angled downward, yet leaves behind no residue when you remove it.
In fact, the concept for the Right Arm was born from one of the developers' experience with back pain, to which I can relate. When you're flat on your back with limited mobility, you can't do much of anything. But if you can have a tablet angled toward you and within easy reach, now you can check e-mail, watch a movie, or whatever. That's a big deal.
The adhesive is sticky enough that the Right Arm can hold up to 4.5 pounds vertically or 15 pounds horizontally (like in a standing-desk configuration), and the pad itself has elastic straps you can apply for extra support. (Personally I'd be freaked to leave my iPad dangling over my bathtub with just the promise of adhesive holding it in place.)
Needless to say, with enough grip to hold that kind of weight, the system can also be used with laptops. The standing-desk setup in particular holds a lot of appeal, as it would allow you to work sans chair without having to invest in a standing desk.
I saw the Right Arm in action at this year's CES and came away impressed. The arm is extremely rigid once you've bent it to your desired position; your tablet (or even laptop) won't topple over. Nor will it slip off the pad, which does seem to employ some kind of space-age adhesive. And photographers will appreciate the ball-head mount for the pad; the latter can be easily removed, leaving you with a 1/4-inch screw thread for a camera.
As I noted earlier, the developers have already reached their funding goal, and most of the early-backer specials are gone. But as of this writing, you can still get a Right Arm for $99, shipped, with an expected delivery time of the end of March.
Let's hear your thoughts on this one. In the meantime, I'll be in the tub catching up on episodes of "Sherlock." (Yeah, I like long baths.)