Bento Book by René Lee


The work of US-based designer René Lee, the 'Bento' computing system concept integrates a notebook, tablet, and smartphone into a single modular device, expanding the possibilities of networked use while extending the life cycle of the product and providing easy portability of each component.

'Bento' was shortlisted from over 1000 designs in our recent designboom competition 'a life with future computing', organized in collaboration with FUJITSU.

A laptop with 15" OLED screen serves as the structural base of the design. When used as an integrated system, the 11" tablet and 4" phone sit in shallow depressions, flanked by a solar powered lithium-ion battery and a 1TB SSD drive. When charged, the tablet and phone can be removed and used wirelessly, or utilized independently as individual devices.

When connected either physically or as a networked system, each screen may be used for different purposes and content. For example, in daily use the tablet might display a keyboard while the notebook screen is used for visualization, with the smartphone docked as a music player or clock. In photo editing, reference material may be loaded onto the phone, while the tablet runs photoshop and the image being edited is displayed on the large screen. All components are also each fully functional as independent devices.

The modular nature of 'bento' facilitates the use of multiple hard drives to store content, in a way that is not only portable but also easily transmissible from one system to another by simply docking the drive in place. In both an ecological and economic advantage, battery and disk storage can be upgraded without buying an entirely new device.