A few years back Joby gave boring old camera tripods a much-needed kick up the rear when stiff, straight, dull-but-dependable legs were replaced with bendable knobbly goodness in the shape of the Gorillapod. Versatility and adaptability are central to its success, attributes that make the tablift iPad stand from Santa Monica's C. Scott Blevins a similarly attractive proposition. While there are vast numbers of tablet stands already available, tablift can provide the hands-free stability others may fail to offer when used on uneven or somewhat changeable surfaces like a sofa, comfy chair or bed.
Blevins says that he started on the tablift design process after failing to find an iPad stand adaptable, stable, portable and durable enough to allow him to comfortably watch movies and use his tablet while in bed. He spent eight months prototyping and tweaking his creation before arriving at the refined prototype you see here. In order to take the project to finished product and beyond, he headed to crowd-funding portal Kickstarter, where it has just managed to meet its funding target with about a day to spare.
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tablift features four adjustable double re-enforced metal spring core legs that can be positioned for a low center of gravity to prevent unintentional tipping over. The ABS plastic mounting base has three grooves for slotting in an iPad which vary viewing angles for sitting, reclining and lying down, although the adjustable nature of the legs does cater for lots of angular possibilities inbetween the default views. The tablet is secured in place in either landscape or portait orientation with a fibertex bungee cord grip, which Blevins says only applies enough pressure to keep the tablet from slipping out.
The stand has been specifically designed to work with all current generations of the iPad, although it has been found to be suitable for other tablets such as the Asus Transformer Prime, Toshiba's Excite 10, and the Galaxy Tab 2 from Samsung.
With crowd-funding secured, work will now begin on the tooling, manufacturing and assembly before delivery to Kickstarter backers. Beyond that, tablift will likely retail for between US$80 and $90.
The following video introduction from the Kickstarter project page details much of the thinking behind tablift, as well as demonstrating its usage scenarios: