Taiwanese device manufacturer Compal has designed an unusual laptop aimed at young children. At first glance the Compal StudyBook looks like a standard notebook, but it has a few features that make it stand out.
First, the keyboard can be lifted up and removed from the bottom of the notebook to reveal a writing slate that kids can use to write or draw. And second, there’s an adjustable mirror built into to the camera section, allowing children to capture and share imagery of whatever they’re drawing on that bottom screen.
The StudyBook isn’t an actual thing that you can go out and buy at this point. Instead it appears to be a concept device that Compal could shop around to potential companies if anyone is interested in having Compal manufacturer it on their behalf. But you can find some pictures and details have been posted to the IF Design Award website.
Since the laptop is designed for kids, it has a colorful rubber bumper to help protect it from scrapes, scuffs, and minor falls.
The writing surface appears to use the same kind of cheap CLCD (Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Display) technology as cheap writing slates like the Boogie Board line of products (which sell for as little as $15), so I wouldn’t expect the StudyBook to be particularly expensive to manufacture… or particularly impressive as a writing tablet. It’s limited to two colors: black and green. And there’s no support for things like pressure sensitivity or tilt detection.
Still, the inclusion of both a QWERTY keyboard and a writing surface with support for battery-free pen input means that young students could practice typing and writing using the same device.
The flip-up mirror over the camera can be angled to capture the contents of the writing slate and software on the computer will automatically reverse the imagery so that writing and drawing won’t look backwards. You could also use the mirror + camera to capture other imagery placed atop the keyboard/writing area like a book, Play-Doh sculpture, or origami objects.
You can also flip the mirror down so that it covers the camera when you’re not using it or flip the mirror all the way up so that it doesn’t obstruct the camera, allowing you to use the webcam for video calls.
Images also show HDMI, USB Type-A and Type-C and 3.5mm audio ports, plus a microSD card reader and a power button on the side of the laptop where it will be easy to press whether the keyboard or the writing surface are in use.