Designing the Modos Paper Monitor

The Modos Team

June 29, 2022

Last week, we introduced the Modos Paper Monitor: an open-hardware standalone portable monitor made for reading and writing, especially for people who need to stare at the display for a long time.

As an open hardware company, we have the opportunity to take you with us on the journey of creating a product from beginning to end, to involve you in the process, make decisions and collaborate together.

This week we’d like to focus on our Paper Monitor’s exterior design and hear from you.

Defining the product

The act of clearly defining a product is the most critical part early on when designing a commercially viable product. A clear definition allows us to make good design decisions and set clear goals, resulting in efficient use of time and resources and ensuring the entire team works in unison.

Concept Designs

Concept designs are a great way to visualize a potentially finished product; beyond the product aesthetics, these concept designs allow us to see how a product could be used and the constraints or limitations.

Monitor with kickstand hinge connected at the rear center of the device

Monitor with a kickstand hinge connected at the base of the device

Pictured above are some renders of potential e-paper monitors with different "kickstand" designs, each with pros and cons:

  1. The fold-up kickstand makes them easily transportable as they would be fast to set up and require minimal storage space for transport.
  2. If used with a laptop, it will be hard to position them directly in front of the user's keyboard, meaning the user will need to keep their head turned to use them.
  3. The kickstand and location of the USB port limit the positions the monitor can be used in, eg. The monitor must be used on a flat surface. It must always be tilted backward when in a landscape orientation and will always be perpendicular to the flat surface when in portrait orientation.
Render of folio cover design
Monitor with removable folio-styled folding cover

The preceding images show a monitor with a detachable folio-styled cover, similar to those available for many tablets. This potential design has many of the same pros and cons while introducing some more:

  1. The folio cover can be folded over the screen to protect it while it's transported.
  2. Compared to a friction hinge kickstand, the tilt angles are limited.
  3. The folio cover can be removed completely.
  4. Different styles and colors of the folio cover could be created to allow the device form and function to change without modifying the monitor.

Other concept designs we are working on have more typical monitor stands or attach directly to laptop screens.

These are just a select few monitor designs we could pursue. Still, they're a great set of examples of how a simple visualization allows us to consider the product from an end-user perspective and present us with many of the questions we need to answer before defining what product to create.


Publicly presenting these concept designs early in our design process allows us to get feedback and opinions from potential users, here's how you can get involved:

  1. How would you like to use an e-paper monitor?
  2. What design features would you like to see?

We want to hear from you!

  1. Complete Designing the Modos Paper Monitor form
  2. Join the discussion on our Zulip

Community Survey and Pilot Program

We are in the process of securing funding for our pilot program, building prototypes for its participants, and continuing the work needed to bring devices like our Paper Monitor to the market. We need your support and want to hear from you.

If you believe in our mission of building technology that respects your time, attention, and well-being, please fill out our community survey and apply for our community pilot program to help us make this a reality.‍

We need at least 50,000 people interested in purchasing our Paper Laptop, Paper Monitor, Development board, and future devices we have planned for the ecosystem.

  1. Participate in our Community Survey
  2. Apply for Community Pilot Program

Follow our progress on RSSGithubMatrixMastodon, and Twitter, or Get in touch with us.

The Modos Team