As pieces of technology hardware, laptop hinges really haven’t dramatically changed in a while: you lift up your screen, your computer turns on, and you go about your business. But Google is imagining a world in which things are more automated, as seen in this new patent spotted by Patently Mobile for a motorized Pixelbook screen that could automatically lift up your display when you tap the lid.
Sure, we’ve had detachable screens, displays that can flip around, and some weird-looking alternatives, like the Surface Book’s chunky design or Lenovo’s Yoga line with their watchband-style links. But Google’s patent — officially for a “Notebook computer with motorized display positioning” — speaks to a magical world where laptop users are freed from the tyranny of having to engage in physical effort to use their computers.
The patent also speculates further about how the technology could be used, too. A Windows Hello-style facial recognition system could automatically verify and unlock a user, and continually adjust the screen during use to comfortably angle toward your face. Then, if the computer recognizes that you aren’t sitting in front of it anymore, it could automatically close and lock itself to prevent anyone else from using it. (No more “hacked” Facebook messages from your trolling friends.)
Of course, this is all just a patent that Google filed back in 2013, so it’s always possible that this will never make its way into a real product. But with the resurgence of automatic unlocking systems like the iPhone X’s Face ID, perhaps a motorized laptop lid that can recognize users or lock them out isn’t that crazy of an idea.