Drawer-mounted PCs could become a popular office format along with desktops and tower models if marketing efforts by a Japanese inventor and his Hong Kong associates are successful. Takeyoshi Ohara, Yokohama-based chairman of Biox 2000, has taken out global patents for his PC drawer-mounting system. An ingenious reversible track along each side of the PC casing allows it to fit neatly into the top or second drawer of any standard US or Asian roller drawer unit under the desk. 'Mounting the PC in the drawer saves space, is more comfortable for the user and creates a healthier working environment,' Mr Ohara said. The patents cover the dimensions of the metal PC casing, which is drilled to house a wide range of motherboards in the popular LPX size, and can be configured to accommodate other types, according to the company. The actual makeup of the components within the Biox casing will depend on which, if any, major PC manufacturers take up the design. Mr Ohara and his Hong Kong-based managing director Allan Tsang say negotiations are under way with several multinational groups which might result in a drawer-mounted brand-name PC being marketed within the next 12 months. Biox envisages granting a single manufacturer exclusive rights to its design. 'We are targeting three types of corporate customers,' Mr Tsang said. 'The most important are the PC manufacturers, but we are also looking at office furniture manufacturers who might be interested in making drawers complete with our mounting systems. 'They might want to put their own power supply or other hardware inside and leave the motherboard and everything else to the computer manufacturer. 'The third likely market is suppliers to the custom-built market, such as youngsters who could fill up the casings with whatever they want.' Mr Ohara said that while negotiations were promising, a brand-name drawer-mounted PC was still 'at least six to 10 months away'. In the meantime, a drawer-mounted product could make it into Asian offices by the end of this year under an offer made to office PC supply contractors. This would involve fitting out offices with drawer-mounted Biox cases and transplanting the components from any existing desktops into them. The company said it would deal with any warranty issues as and when they arose. Mr Tsang explained: 'For example, a contractor working on a refit project for a big company in Central could look around and if most of the existing PCs are desktops, the components could be taken out and transferred to drawer-mounted cases. They give up the original box and power supply, and everything else is moved to the drawer.' Mr Tsang estimated a PC manufacturer could produce a drawer-mounted PC for about the same cost as a desktop, other things being equal. He said the Biox drawer-mounted casing had been designed with capacity for upgrades in mind. The case opens with a single screw and Mr Tsang said a drawer-mounted system could stay with an owner 'for 20 years' through many generations of computer evolution.