Comments on: Laser Projection PDA Keyboard in the Spring

PDA accessory company, iBiz, CEO recently made an apprearance on American TV and announced the company would be shipping the first Laser projection keyboard for handhelds sometime in the first quarter 2004.
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Its all about the displays

MobileMitch @ 1/2/2004 11:55:08 AM #
I cant imagine many people other then the over monied "don't I have cool toys" people actualy buying this keyboard without getting to try it out first.

I hope they have good displays at Compusa and the like otherwise they are DOA IMHO

RE: Its all about the displays
abosco @ 1/2/2004 12:27:18 PM #
>>I cant imagine many people other then the over monied "don't I have cool toys" people actualy buying this keyboard without getting to try it out first.

You use your Palm to take notes at meetings or in school where you ALWAYS have a flat desk/table in front of you. This thing provides a major size advantage. If you can get used to the idea of no tactile feedback and want to carry lighter, then this thing is definitely for you.

One question - how does it connect to the PDA? Maybe I missed it in the article, but did it say IR? What about for my weird Clie where the IR port is facing the left?

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Its all about the displays
dustbunny44 @ 1/2/2004 12:37:12 PM #
Of course the next step is to embed it into the PDA itself. Stand the device upright on some kind of pop-out leg or stand, turn on the virtual keyboard, and type away.

What happens to this in bright light?

patchwork @ 1/2/2004 1:56:19 PM #
Say I want to use this on a sunny day in the park on a picnic table. Will this come with special glasses that will make the laser image more distinct? That's one drawback, if this has any at all.

RE: What happens to this in bright light?
jsnchg @ 1/2/2004 2:13:26 PM #
I can think of another major drawback. Since there is no tactile feedback, your fingers will not be able to tell whether your fingers are actually right on the letters or in between them, not to mention if your fingers are resting on the right letters. Regular keyboard has a slightly raised "dot" on letters 'F' and 'J' and your finger tips are able to determine if you are resting in between the letters or in a correct position without having to actually look at the keyboard. This laser keyboard,however, would often require you to look at the keyboard to know if you are actually resting and pressing on the right keys. Unless you are a two fingered typist and look at the keyboard constantly to type like someone I know, this laser keyboard may significantly slow you down when you have a long document to input.
RE: What happens to this in bright light?
patchwork @ 1/2/2004 3:30:40 PM #
Actually, once the image is projected on a perfectly flat surface and is the exact size of a standard keyboard, it should be easy for a touch-typist to get accustomed to. That's because their fingers are already oriented to type in a particular space and fashion. As long as they "home" their fingers, they should be okay.

It's the rest of us that will seem slow and stupid at the outset trying to use the QWERTY keyboard...

It possesses very Trekkian possibilities actually, given the ever changing nature of the average LCARS keypad. I imagine that the same device can be used to create all different kinds of input interfaces very easily, in the much the same fashion as on the show.

Thinking about it now, if the image drivers are on the PDA itself, I can imagine custom keyboards by language or even by application. A germanic, aramaic or eastern keyset could be projected, for example, or a keyboard with function keys specific to an application, like a spreadsheet or drawing program.

The potential uses are tremendous, if users can get past the lack of tactile feedback.

Not for touch-typist
MediaBaron @ 1/3/2004 12:45:25 AM #
I think this would work the worst for touch-typists. "Touch-typists" keep their fingers on the home-row keys and type without looking at the keyboard. You can't rest your fingers on the home row as it would look like you're pressing several keys at a time to this vitual keyboard. And there's no 'touch' tactile feedback. It would work better for "hunt-n-peck" typists since they would just use a few fingers to poke out their typing.

RE: What happens to this in bright light?
jsnchg @ 1/3/2004 2:59:10 PM #
I agree, MediaBaron.
Not only that, when your fingers are resting on the home row, laser beams will be shone on the finger nails and on top of the fingers and will cast shadows for any keys below it. To see the position of those "shadowed" keys, you will have to lift up your fingers completely. This is definitely not for touch typist.
RE: What happens to this in bright light?
sford @ 1/4/2004 10:30:22 PM #
I fully agree with MediaBaron. I'm a "touch typist," typing about 70 wpm. Even as I'm typing this response I'm not looking at the keyboard. Can't, it slows me down. Lol! Although I'll still play with it in the store, I think it's highly unlikely I'll be buying one.

Sell your home FAST!
RE: What happens to this in bright light?
d1donly @ 1/5/2004 4:56:20 PM #
I belive that the makers could program the device to time the length a finger is in front of the laser and only register a key if the finger breaks the laser rather then resting on a touch tipest could use the keyboard without any differences... as for your home key markers...(bumbps on keys)...if it ever became a real issue....a little sticky raised marker could be sold by the hundreds, so you could make any spot on a desk home keys....just set the laser in the same place all the time, or move your raised home key stickers....


Strider_mt2k @ 1/2/2004 3:42:07 PM #
We've been reading about this development for a while now.

I hope this one makes it.

RE: Cool!
d1donly @ 1/5/2004 5:18:07 PM #
I feel certian it will, and the concept alone will spark enough interest alone to perfect it. So much so, I bought a lot of shares of this company.
And it's already gone up over 460% as of date.... over 85% just today!!! I think there are a lot of people that wana see virtual tools hit the market.
I'm sick of carying around so much junk to.
I wana see a device that turns any surface into a note pad... just carry around my stylus and if I wana take large written notes or sketch something.....just set the device on the table and start thats cool.....better then the bluetooth pen by far.

Not gonna fly

Palm4u @ 1/2/2004 4:06:53 PM #
I don't think this is going to catch on at all. Looking at that projector box, its big and thick.

Who wants to carry that around along with your slim PDA??

And where do you place it? Infront of you? Where the PDA is supposed to be so you can see the PDA's screen while you type?

Can't place it on the side, cause then the projected image will be distorted.

And I can't imagine the cost of this. Might as well get a cheapo foldup keyboard for $50-90 bucks.

PDAs rule the world !

RE: Not gonna fly
hkklife @ 1/2/2004 4:45:45 PM #
Not gonna fly this generation--or even the next, correct. However, i *DO* see tremendous potential for this technology in a variety of fields/applications in 4-6 years' time. Just give it time to mature and ripen. Let's cross our fingers and hope that the technology doesn't wither away before it ever really gets going. iBiz also does not seem like the sort of company that could do the best job marketing such a gadget. All of the stuff I've seen from them so far seems just just cheapish, generic junk. I'd actually rather pay $150 for a Palm or Targus version of this thing and be able to (hopefully) count on a reasonable SDK/layout image editor and driver updates than a "you get whatever's in the retail package and that's it" deal from a low-end peripheral company.

RE: Not gonna fly
d1donly @ 1/5/2004 5:24:20 PM #
If you don't want it to weither away...explore it and invest in it......if the people create the demand..manuf will exoplore it. i.e. Give the poeple what they want......not what they want in 4 yrs.

RE: Not gonna fly
MGogesch @ 1/5/2004 11:19:12 PM #
I think that this thingy will work, but poeple are going to buy it thinking it is going to work as a normal keybord, which it wont, and write bad reviews becuase of that. In my opinion it is a good idea, but not being able to feel the keys would really curb my style. I just cant see much of a market for this device.

Good OEM technology but bad third party product

RhinoSteve @ 1/2/2004 4:53:31 PM #
I see this release as a trail to try to get this technology OEM'ed into an PDA. Something like this would be wonderful for a smartphone but the ergonomics of it really addresses the entire design. Perhaps some sort of embedded flip-out stand can be used to keep the smartphone upright as you "type" on the keys that are projected.

A little early for April Fools'

hgoldner @ 1/2/2004 5:26:01 PM #
When I first saw this product discussed online last year in March I was absolutely convinced it was an April Fool joke.

I have seen this thing 'demoed' on MSNBC and I still don't believe it can possibly function.

After all, just pop by your local MicroCenter and you can find a half dozen Belkin infrared Palm keyboards in the returns bin.

Anyone who touchtypes will hate this thing --- if it really ever makes it to market.


BT Keyboard

cyberdude @ 1/3/2004 2:11:59 AM #
I would much prefer the portable, roll-up Bluetooth keyboard I read about several months ago. I think that would be far more useful, if you have a BT device that is.

BT keyboard

jss1432 @ 1/3/2004 12:26:51 PM #
Thanks, but no thanks for the laser projection keyboard. It sounds like way too much hassle for way too little functionality.

What I really want is the folding Bluetooth keyboard and the Flexis waterproof rollable Bluetooth keyboard.

RE: BT keyboard
d1donly @ 1/5/2004 5:03:59 PM #
Consider that if the technology realy survies and is functionable.....palms and phones will be built with the technology all you need is your palm and a flat surface....the whole concept of having equipment, that you really don't have to carry has always succeded. And if this will go way beyond keyboards....


Strider_mt2k @ 1/4/2004 9:19:10 AM #
If you run that laser projector through a lens, and point it at the floor, maybe you could do a Tom Hanks in "BIG" thing, and play music by jumping on the keys! (with the right app)

Or one of those dancin' video games even!

Hmmm, virtual jogging or workouts with your handheld?

Just blue skyin' it with the ideas.

I know!
Strider_mt2k @ 1/4/2004 9:25:02 AM #
Virtual Hopscotch!

RE: Heeeeeey!
Bartman007 @ 1/5/2004 2:58:10 AM #
if the projected image can be modified on the fly you could have your Palm teach you how to dance (well, the footwork at least.


RE: Heeeeeey!
hoodoo @ 1/5/2004 10:32:02 AM #
RE: Heeeeeey!
d1donly @ 1/5/2004 5:10:24 PM #
You guys are being silly, but your totally in the right directions.........virtual piano keyboads will probably be in the horizon.........learn to play the piano with just a computer....they already have midi and some 300 instrument synth.....why not add a laser to give you a piano.....
And do you see a section of a desk being a mouse tracker....just a finger on the desk could move your mouse around the screen.....Not to far from a virtual workstation.
Give these palm more power, and they could project their lcd screen onto walls or backdrops, display a virtual keyboard and trackpad......You've got a one box portable workstation. lol

RE: Heeeeeey!
Strider_mt2k @ 1/5/2004 5:29:52 PM #
Actually my ideas are doable!
(In theory)

I'm just not sure if they'd be viable products.

RE: Heeeeeey!
MGogesch @ 1/5/2004 11:25:01 PM #
I really like the idea of a huge keyboard on the ground, but i really REALLY doubt the image can be changed, ever. But wow would i like to see a mouse tracking section, that would be beyond cool.

RE: Heeeeeey!
MikeInDM @ 1/6/2004 10:15:29 AM #
Aerobic exercise while taking notes!


mapaman @ 1/5/2004 5:28:26 AM #

this revolutionizes typing such that typists of the future love this so much that everyone learns to type this way (without the need for tactile feedback). And forget about the bright light--- once you learn to type this way, you could actually turn off the display and just have the camera track your finger movements. You could even have the software modified to recognize the size of your finger; length of stroke, etc.


voice recognition gets commericalized so quickly that all types of keyboards are made obsolete!

RE: Either...
hgoldner @ 1/5/2004 2:03:42 PM #
Well, that's really the end result, isn't it?

I firmly believe that one day little children will see a keyboard in the Smithsonian and go, "what's that for?"

Now, however, the silicon and software isn't there for voice input with the quality and accuracy of a keyboard.


Forward thinking

Multitech @ 1/7/2004 1:26:31 PM #
Many of these same comments were made about cars and phones, but look were we are today with them. Someone is forward thinking enough that they take an idea and make it a reality. I can see the day were your watch will be your phone and your PDA. Its not a far stretch to laser interference patterns that will allow the keyboard and yes even a display to be projected into the air. At the rate technology is advancing it may not be that far off.




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