How would you feel sat at your desk typing away on a projected laser-generated ‘virtual’ keyboard, pretty surreal I bet? Surreal and futuristic visions of typing away on what fundamentally equates to ‘thin air’ are beginning to surface as a reality, with the long-serving provider of ‘unique’ products, Hammacher Schlemer, introducing The Virtual Keyboard.
This Bluetooth Class II laser device projects a cybernetic keyboard onto any flat and opaque surface, thus giving iPhone, iPad or Android users instant access to a keyboard. And far from being tiny, fiddly and awkward – does the Blackberry’s keyboard ring any bells, the virtual keyboard projected is 9 ¾ inches wide and 4 inches deep, with ¾ inch keys.
But how could a keyboard, without ‘actual’ keys, recognise keystrokes you may be asking? According to The Virtual Keyboard press release, an optical sensor recognises keystrokes in three dimensions and is so sensitive to finger placement that it distinguishes between a finger hovering over or pressing a “key”. An invisible infrared horizontal plane is also projected just millimetres above the surface, which detects ‘actual’ contact with the ‘key’. When a finger then breaks the plane, the projector then allocates a character on the keyboard and transfers it to the device it is hooked up to – spookily clever hey?
If you are a speedo typist and worried that The Virtual Keyboard will not be able to keep up with your ultra-fast typing skills or produce the 100% accuracy you expect it to, then fear not, as this simulated keyboard can apparently keep up with typing speeds of up to 400 characters-per-minute, and, Hammacher Schlemmer’s general manager informs, that it transmits “100% accurate keystrokes to a smartphone or iPad.”
This three inch tall projector sits inconspicuously on a desk and, given its unobtrusive size, is easily transportable, whilst its rechargeable battery provides up to 2 ½ hours of typing after a 1 ½ hour charge.
Since 1848 this long-running American company has prided itself on offering only ‘the Best, the Only and the Unexpected.’ And in providing iPhone and iPad users with an alternative method to type on other than a tiny touchscreen, which is bracingly bigger than the minute keyboard of the Blackberry, Hammacher Schlemmer really is living up to its self-implemented reputation of offering ‘the Best, the Only and the Unexpected’. Bring on 2012 if gadgets this year are going to be as thrilling as The Virtual Keyboard!
The Virtual Keyboard retails at $199.95.