A company called Expanscape has created the most Inspector Gadget-like device that I’ve ever seen. It’s a laptop prototype called the Aurora 7 (a working title), and attached to its humongous black box of a chassis are six extra displays that extend out in every direction away from the main screen, each showing its own windows and applications.
If you’re like me, the first thought that comes to mind is “that poor hinge!” Yeah, poor hinge, indeed. Many laptop hinges don’t gracefully handle having one screen attached, let alone seven. Piggybacking on the main 17.3-inch 4K display are three other screens of the same size and resolution. Above the left and right displays is a single seven-inch 1200p monitor. You’ll also find one more seven-inch 1200p touchscreen display mounted into the wrist rest. This prototype weighs about 26 pounds and is 4.3 inches thick. It has an imposing, intimidating presence, and I haven’t even seen it in person.
Bow down to the Aurora 7. Image: Expanscape
What GPU is responsible for powering its four 4K displays? None other than the midrange Nvidia GTX 1060, which isn’t exactly a powerhouse. It also has an Intel Core i9-9900K processor and 64GB of RAM. You can find more specs here. In future revisions, Expanscape wants to use the Nvidia RTX 2070 instead, with options for the AMD Ryzen 9 3950x processor or Intel’s i9-10900K.
Even though it’s built primarily to be a mobile security operations station (and stay plugged pretty much all the time), maybe it’ll be able to run some games, too. Gizmodo noticed in its write-up of this gadget that its current prototype can last for just one hour before the battery cries for more power, which is frankly longer than I expected. It uses a secondary 148Wh battery just to power its additional displays, and that’s over the FAA’s legal limit to fly in a plane. Expanscape says it’s working to remedy this in future prototypes. In other words, the company is committed to letting you bring a seven-screen laptop onto a plane. You’d probably have to buy a whole row of seats for the necessary space to use it, though. (If you’re reading this in the future, please take a picture of one of these if you see it on your plane.)
Sure, the Aurora 7 looks more rough around the edges than Razer’s triple-screened Project Valerie laptop from a few years ago. But nevertheless, Expanscape claims it’s willing to actually sell this thing, which is more than Razer can say about its Valerie concept. If you want to buy one, Expanscape says it can help interested parties in reserving a prototype of its upcoming revision. As for the price, the company will ask you to sign a nondisclosure agreement, prohibiting you from publicly sharing the cost. That doesn’t bode well for the bank account.
I look forward to hearing more about future revisions of the Aurora 7, especially if it gets a button that makes all of the displays pop open in a comical fashion. Currently, it seems like an extremely manual process.