Aside from maybe Apple’s MacBooks, there isn’t a line of laptops with as much brand recognition as IBM’s ThinkPads—now manufactured by Lenovo. They’ve been around for almost 30 years now and were responsible for some real innovations in laptop design, including the TrackPoint nub in the middle of the keyboard that Paul Klinger has lovingly recreated as part of this custom miniaturized ThinkPad he created.
The TrackPoint, which is often referred to as a nipple, allowed the user to move the Windows cursor around the screen without the need for a touch-sensitive pad (which would be introduced later in the line) or the use of an external mouse which improved the laptop’s portability. It’s as much a part of the ThinkPad’s iconic design as the laptop’s all-black plastic housing was, and on Klinger’s custom ThinkTiny it’s, fittingly, the only input mechanism.
Powered by the ATtiny1614 8-bit chip, Klinger’s ThinkTiny is woefully underpowered for running productivity apps like MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. Instead, he’s designed it to be a tiny gaming laptop running retro titles like Snake, Lunar Lander, and Tetris on its diminutive OLED screen.
Klinger has no plans to put the ThinkTiny into production, which would potentially invite some litigious pursuits from Lenovo. But he’s provided all of the code, documentation, and 3D printer files for free on his GitHub page if you’re inclined to try and build one yourself.