Tstand: The iPad and tablet accessory your back didn't know it needed

Using large tablets can encourage bad ergonomic behavior. Fortunately there's a solution to that problem.

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The Tstand at my espresso bar, with iPad Pro enclosed in the Ballistic Tough Jacket case.

If you haven't noticed, with the introduction of the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, tablets are getting larger and larger.

As usage of these larger tablets have increased, people have begun to engage in longer duration content consumption as well as work in places that conventionally were not used for that purpose before, such as lying in bed or on a couch, as opposed to sitting on a chair and propping the device up on a table.

The way most large format tablets are designed to be used is in conjunction with a specialized case or built-in easel (such as on the Surface Pro 3/4) in which they are adjusted so that you have to view them at a downward angle, or simply to look directly down at them on a flat surface or when being held on your lap or freehand.

From an ergonomics perspective, this is not healthy, as a screen should optimally be viewed at eye level.

While looking down at a tablet from a sitting position is bad enough for posture, when using the device lying down, this adds considerable strain on your neck as well as on your back.

Tstand, a simple stand for tablets which reached 1600 percent of its Kickstarter goal this week, aims to alleviate this problem, by providing a way to view your tablet close to eye level, regardless if you are lying down or sitting.

The stand itself is fairly simple -- it uses a spring mechanism to clamp down on the tablet as if held in a vice, using rubberized grips to keep the device from slipping out. It does a very good job of securing the tablet in place. We had no problems securing our iPad Pro and Surface 3 on the Tstand, both enclosed in hardcases.

The main "neck" can be swiveled 180 degrees, so that the feet/reversible base of the stand can be pointed away from you if needed, such as if you have the device on a table and need to use an external keyboard.

The base position that most users will likely use the product is in its default, where the "feet" hug the torso when lying down in bed.

Ideally, the Tstand is best suited to standard-size (9.7") or smaller tablets, such as the iPad Air/Mini or the Surface 3. We found that the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, both 12"/11.5" wide respectively, were far too top heavy, especially when enclosed in a hardcase, to use lying down with the accessory.

On a table or other flat surface, we had no issues using the Tstand with the iPad Pro, but it could have benefited from a wider base for additional stability.

While the Tstand is being positioned as a consumer device, I believe that it has greater possibilities in vertical market scenarios, such as for use in hospitals as well as mobile point-of-sale/kiosk solutions, or when presentations are required in small rooms.

I also enjoyed using the stand in my kitchen and breakfast bar, where I was able to drink my morning coffee and view the morning news and weather charts without having to gaze down at the device.

The Tstand is available on Kickstarter with a $37 pledge or higher.

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