Matthew Perks, a YouTuber whose previous projects include turning old TVs into artificial daylight and an awesome water-cooled PC desk project, has found an inventive way of adding a second screen to your laptop without sacrificing too much portability. His dual-screen laptop project, which we spotted thanks to Gizmodo’s write-up, features an extra display that sits on top of your laptop’s built-in screen. It can then fold down when you need to take it on the go.
As well as doubling your screen real estate, Perks notes that the project has ergonomic benefits because the top screen is much closer to eye level. “I’m so surprised that this kind of thing isn’t more common,” he muses at the beginning of the video, before hoping that a mass-market manufacturer steps in to steal his idea and turn it into a fully fledged product.
We know of at least one company that has experimented with a similar design: Intel’s prototype dual-screen Honeycomb Glacier laptop, which we looked at earlier this year, features a very similar design, albeit with a second mini 12.3-inch monitor rather than two full-sized displays. Intel’s design is currently in the prototype stage, however, with no sign of a consumer release anytime soon.
Although you can technically build Perks’ project yourself, it’s quite an involved process. You’ll have to find an LCD display and a driver board to power it and then work out a way of providing both with power. Perks uses an external battery pack to do this, but he notes that you can power a second screen directly from your laptop if it has a USB-C port. You also need to construct a hinge mechanism for the display. The YouTuber 3D-printed his own, but you could probably get away with an off-the-shelf solution if that makes more sense for you.
Aside from the somewhat complicated construction process and the extra bulk the second screen adds to your laptop, the project’s biggest downside is that the second screen faces outward from the laptop while it’s folded away. That means you’re going to want to make sure you’re not carrying any keys or sharp objects in your bag with this dual-screen laptop, or they could to scratch your convenient second display.
If you’re looking to add a similar feature to your laptop without having to build something from scratch, there are any number of options. The easiest way is probably to use software to repurpose a MacBook, Android device, or iPad into an extra display. It’s nowhere near as charming as Perks’ solution, but it could offer some hope for the more DIY-challenged among us.