Lenovo PC modder challenge produces articulated touchscreen table, desktop arcade, more

Lenovo has been courting PC modders in the run-up to CES 2011 this week, and some of the results of the "What's Your Idea of Fun?" campaign are pretty striking. Taking regular Lenovo computers as their starting point, the modders variously came up with a desktop arcade cabinet, a beautiful Birdseye maple and teak gaming PC, and the bizarre MD-5 robot-themed touchscreen computer shown here.

The MD-5 is a little like a touchscreen coffee table, with an onboard power pack keeping the Lenovo IdeaCentre A700 running while you move it from room to room. Other mods are more subtle, like Alex Wiley's luxury Lenovo IdeaPad U160 with a platinum-plated top cover and diamond-studded, backlit Lenovo logo.

Unfortunately we don't think Lenovo is going to actually carry any of these ideas over into production models; instead the company will be showing off the modded PCs at CES this week. More details of all the mods pictured in the press release below.

Press Release:


Most people think of musicians, painters and photographers when it comes to art. As part of Lenovo's recent "What's Your Idea of Fun?" campaign, we wanted to shine the light on a very different kind of artist – one who uses soldering irons and dremels as their paint brushes. The kind of artists we're talking about are called PC "modders," extremely talented and imaginative people who modify and/or customize typical notebook and desktop PCs into technological works of art.

Lenovo recently approached several of the world's top PC modders and asked them to transform Lenovo PCs into some of the wildest laptops and desktops ever created. The mods, described in further detail below, will be showcased at CES 2011 at Unveiled, Digital Experience and at Lenovo's booth space in the Aquaknox restaurant at The Venetian Hotel.

For more information visit WhatsYourIdeaofFun.com

MODDER: Dean Liou

MOD NAME: The Arcade Dock

WEBSITE: Envador.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: Dean Liou finished his first mod—a computer case made out of PVC pipes and Plexiglas—during the summer of 1998. For his Lenovo mod, Liou create a customized arcade cabinet that allows users to dock their Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 and use as a mini arcade. Liou's goal with this mod was to create something that would enable users to mix work and play. Once you're home from class or work, all you need to do is hook up the laptop in the dock and it's time to play!

MODDER: James Fislar

MOD NAME: Lenovo Ice

WEBSITE: WhatsYourIdeaofFun.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: James Fislar enjoys working with epoxy, fiberglass and carbon fibers. For his mod, James created an IdeaCentre K320 that appears to be completely encased in ice. The K320 Ice is created from a custom acrylic mold, special lighting and a custom water cooling and reservoir to keep all the components cool while running. The mod also features an ATI Eyefinity System with custom Acrylic 3 Monitor Bracket.

MODDER: Jeffrey Stephenson

MOD NAME: Level 12

WEBSITE: SlipperySkip.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: Jeffrey Stephenson has been building custom computers as a hobby since 2002. This Lenovo build marked his twenty-ninth project. Jeffrey's modding M.O. typically consists of creating smaller-sized computers that fit into the decor of executive offices or home living spaces. He does all of his work by hand with basic household tools such as cordless drills, a dremel and the occasional jigsaw.

The Level Twelve mod is a performance-upgraded Lenovo H320 micro tower-style computer embedded within a stylish wooden enclosure. The enclosure — made from Birdseye maple and teak and featuring chrome accents — is equipped with additional fans and supplemental vent ducting. It also features four front-mounted USB 3.0 ports via an internal USB 3.0 hub. The underlying H320 chassis is heavily modified for additional cooling capacity and is fully self-contained. The chassis can be withdrawn from the back of its wooden enclosure even while it is operating.

MODDER: Chris Blarsky


WEBSITE: AbsoluteExtremes.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: Chris Blarsky began modding in 1995 out of necessity; he wanted a computer case that held two working PCs. When he couldn't find one, he created himself. This time around, Blarsky created a robot-inspired mod, the "MD-5", from the IdeaCentre A700. The mod's name is short for mobile desktop while the 5 is a tribute to "Johnny 5" from Short Circuit, a 1986 science fiction film. The MD-5 is able to move from room to room and has a battery pack for added mobility. Additionally, its multitouch screen is attached to an articulating arm that provides ample range of motion and use.

MODDER: Brian Carter

MOD NAME: Lenovo Sensei

WEBSITE: Bods-Mods.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: Inspired to help his son's school receive a much needed technology upgrade, Brian Cater developed the "Lenovo Sensei" – a unique teaching aid that allows teachers to instruct their classes more dynamically. The Lenovo Sensei boasts an integrated HD DLP projector with 1280 x 800 resolution, hybrid laser technology and a HDMI connection between the A700 and projector. The A700 itself is touch screen controlled and the entire unit has been modified with a well-ventilated cooling system to keep internal components running smoothly. With the new device, teaching possibilities are virtually endless!

MODDER: Alex Wiley


WEBSITE: Computer-Choppers.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: Alex Wiley, owner of Computer Choppers, has been customizing computers since 1996. With more than a decade of modding experience under his belt, Wiley has created a unique niche developing luxury customizations, and the UberLux is a prime example. For this mod, Wiley outfitted a Lenovo IdeaPad U160 with a platinum-plated top cover and diamond-studded Lenovo logo that lights up from behind when the laptop is powered on.

MODDER: Peter Freudenberger

MOD NAME: Lenovo Slice

WEBSITE: http://sliceproject.wordpress.com

MOD DESCRIPTION: Peter Freudenberger is an IT engineer from the greater Boston area who restores vintage motorcycles in his spare time. Using an IdeaPad Y560, Peter created the Lenovo Slice – a desktop PC that combines cutting-edge performance with a form that is elegant and modern. In order to create the mod, Freudenberger used low-profile laptop components and passive cooling, quality construction without exposed edges and minimal aesthetic, including high quality glass and laser cut aluminum.