Simple question, but kind of desperate: Monitor mount - supine
September 2, 2015 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Is there a swing arm or some other way to mount a monitor such that I can lay down, on my back, and look straight up at it?

Due to an injury, I really need to be laying flat on my back with a roll under my neck. Unfortunately, there is work that I really need (and want!) to do.

Input gratefully appreciated.
posted by Alaska Jack to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are a variety of monitor mounting arms available for reasonable prices at Monoprice but the exact one you need is going to depend on what your situation is, like what you're planning to mount it to, how far it needs to articulate, and how heavy your monitor is.
posted by odinsdream at 11:09 AM on September 2, 2015

I have a TV mounted flat on the ceiling in the bedroom*, using just a regular old VESA mount. Most monitors accept VESA these days. To be sure yours will, look for the telltale square pattern of four screws or holes on the back.

Mounting brackets can be as simple or complex as you like, from plain fixed ones ($10?) to fancy triple-articulating things that dentists use to distract you ($500+) during the pain.

* Girl calls it the 21st Century Sex Mirror, but mainly it's for Netflix.
posted by rokusan at 11:12 AM on September 2, 2015

OP here. What about a static wall mount? Would it work to mount one, literally, on the bottom of my desk? Has anyone heard of such a thing?
posted by Alaska Jack at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2015

It seems like the ceiling would be way too far and what you need would be much closer. I don't know if your injury allows it, but if so, I would get some 1x2s or etc and put together an isosceles triangle shaped frame with the wide side up and a braced bottom, mount some heavy particle board or stacked plywood sheets to the incline, and then mount the TV mount to the board. You can play with the angle of the isosceles with respect to the tilt of the mount to get the exact angle you need before you build it. This mount might be a good start. I have a VideoSecu mount in my living room and it is really solid, but it's not this model. Once you have the monitor mounted there, you can slide in one of those zero gravity chairs or something like that. I have seen people doing things like this for ergonomic reasons, so I bet you could find more detailed info searching for that.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:59 PM on September 2, 2015

One of my coworkers had a back problem with a similar restriction. Another of our team fabricated a one-off device to meet his needs so he could work while in bed rest --a VESA mount that clamped to a steel pipe sticking up from a sturdy wooden base on the floor.

Lacking a metal shop, look into monitor arms intended for use in hospitals. They're spendy but should do what you want.
posted by Alterscape at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2015

Ha! This is exactly my situation!

I broke my leg and if I don't keep my ankle elevated (above my heart, is the rule of thumb) my ankle swells up to twice normal size and hurts like hell. But I have to work, and my work involves long hours of staring at a computer.

I got one of those bedside tables, mounted a cheap wall-mount TV bracket to the underside, and hung a HD monitor there. Now I lie on the floor with my leg up on the couch, and look up at the monitor under the table. I also bought a Bluetooth keyboard that worked with my laptop, and have always used a separate mouse.

Downsides of this arrangement:
  • Your back will start to hurt unless you figure out something ergonomic to lie on.
  • You may find breathing to be uncomfortable after a week or two laying down all the time.
  • You need to know how to touch-type all the letters...and numbers...and special characters...
  • If you don't have an upright mirror monitor, it's a PITA to do tasks that require part computer work (on your back) and part standing/moving in the regular world.
I can't wait to get back to normal, but at least my ankle isn't swole up like a diabetic sausage.

(edit s/lay/lie/)
posted by spacewrench at 1:39 PM on September 2, 2015

You've probably already thought of of this, but just in case you haven't: use a mirror. Of course you'd have to flip or reverse the image. I just took a quick look and things for that exist...
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 1:42 PM on September 2, 2015

These prism specs might be a good alternative for you.
posted by moira at 3:04 PM on September 2, 2015

I had a friend who built this over his bed. You could also get the same effect maybe even more easily by getting a bunk bed and installing a big monitor on the upper bunk facing down.
posted by jessamyn at 6:35 PM on September 2, 2015

Hi, I just wanted to wrap this up with a quick note about what I did, in case anyone looks this up later.

First, I did get a VESA mount from a store for about 10 bucks. This was then mounted to the bottom of my desk. It worked, sort of, but was less than ideal for a number of small reasons (the monitor was too close to my face; the keyboard was hard to keep in my lap because it had the ten-key thing off the the side, and was thus unbalanced; I couldn't see the keyboard to type; etc.).

Ultimately, it turned out to be much more practical to lay down and use prism specs similar to the ones moira (above) highlighted for me. It sounds really gimmicky, but I'm telling you, those things work! When I'm laying with my knees bent up and a laptop sitting there, I can see not only the screen but also the keys. I've had a ton of people ask me where they can get a pair (

Hope this helps someone else!
posted by Alaska Jack at 2:28 AM on November 4, 2015

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