Mobile Technology

CTX Virtual Keyboard fits on a keychain

CTX Virtual Keyboard fits on a...
CTX's Virtual Keyboard projects a usable laser outline of a QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface while fitting inside a small keychain
CTX's Virtual Keyboard projects a usable laser outline of a QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface while fitting inside a small keychain
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The Virtual Keyboard is about the size of a Zippo lighter and can be carried easily in your pocket with your keys
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The Virtual Keyboard is about the size of a Zippo lighter and can be carried easily in your pocket with your keys
CTX's Virtual Keyboard projects a usable laser outline of a QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface while fitting inside a small keychain
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CTX's Virtual Keyboard projects a usable laser outline of a QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface while fitting inside a small keychain
A Bluetooth connection lets it sync wirelessly to most smart devices, while a lithium ion battery holds enough power for two hours of typing and can be recharged through USB
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A Bluetooth connection lets it sync wirelessly to most smart devices, while a lithium ion battery holds enough power for two hours of typing and can be recharged through USB
Brookstone has begun taking orders for a new virtual keyboard from CTX, which projects a usable laser keyboard onto any flat surface, all while fitting nicely inside a small keychain
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Brookstone has begun taking orders for a new virtual keyboard from CTX, which projects a usable laser keyboard onto any flat surface, all while fitting nicely inside a small keychain
The Virtual Keyboard displays a laser outline of a full-sized QWERTY keyboard in front of it, while an optical sensor tracks a user's finger movements as they type
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The Virtual Keyboard displays a laser outline of a full-sized QWERTY keyboard in front of it, while an optical sensor tracks a user's finger movements as they type
CTX's Virtual Keyboard projects a usable laser outline of a QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface while fitting inside a small keychain
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CTX's Virtual Keyboard projects a usable laser outline of a QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface while fitting inside a small keychain
View gallery - 6 images

Even though tablets and smartphones are improving and adding new features all the time, a shrunken keyboard on a touch screen still doesn't compare to the comfort of a full-sized keyboard for typing. There are plenty of solutions for this, from snap-on cases with keyboards built into them to keyboards that fold into a compact package. But these all just make your device less mobile or give you one more bulky thing to carry. For a more compact alternative, Brookstone has begun taking orders for a new virtual keyboard from CTX, which projects a usable laser keyboard onto any flat surface, all while fitting nicely inside a small keychain.

This certainly isn't the first virtual keyboard on the market, but it is the smallest and most affordable to date. Like virtual keyboards of the past, this one projects a laser outline of a full-sized QWERTY keyboard in front of it, while an optical sensor tracks a user's finger movements as they type. A Bluetooth connection lets it sync wirelessly to most smart devices, and a lithium ion battery holds enough power for two hours of typing and can be recharged through USB. Best of all, the whole thing is about the size of a Zippo lighter and can be carried easily in your pocket with your other kind of keys.

The Virtual Keyboard is about the size of a Zippo lighter and can be carried easily in your pocket with your keys
The Virtual Keyboard is about the size of a Zippo lighter and can be carried easily in your pocket with your keys

Aside from portability, CTX's virtual keyboard is also much more sanitary than a physical one that accumulates dust and grime the more it's used. On the other hand though, you might have to ignore a few odd looks when you start literally flashing a laser to type out your next text.

Right now, Brookstone is selling the Virtual Keyboard through its website for US$99.99, with plans to begin shipping them out on October 1.

Source: Brookstone

View gallery - 6 images
15 comments
JSmith
I can see this causing problems to your fingers if used over a long period of time as the finger absorbs the force used.
Slowburn
re; Giwin
You're typing to energetically. I under stand I learned to type on a manual typewriter myself.
Kris Suchdeve
Giwin: Wouldn't be any more problems than someone typing on a tablet or other touch screen keyboard.
Wombat56
The images shown don't display any shadowing of the projected images by the typist's fingers. I wonder how realistic that is?
NK Fro
giwin, this isn't an everday use keyboard fo most people. Your concerns about are repetative motion injuries are easily addessed by the end-user. A thin neoprene mat could address fingertip injury concerns. Creating a reusable anchor for the projector for use on a variety of materials would be needed. Image stabilization tech found today cameras could address vibration induced by using the keyboard.
yrag
This concept has been around for a few years. On one hand it's remarkable technology, but on the other it lacks that reassuring and gratifying tactile interaction that people crave and it's still just one more thing to carry around and set up to use--plus, it still requires a flat surface of some uncluttered area.
Mark A
So how many people know the importance of a Zippo lighter?
Mark Van Tilburg
@Wombat... not very, obviously... but what is also rather obvious, is that it s a MOCKUP... sheesh...
Durojaiye Philips
wow good stuff......this would be better if it can be integrated into a phone case...then there u go,every one is going to want one. the sensors and laser projector on the side in landscape mode but thin enough to preserve the sleekness of the phone.... and on the tablet,there is enough room to slap it on a smart cover.....
lord starkphils
Nantha
This is like the best smartphone related idea i have seen in a long time. I hope the concept works well. Then it can also be paired with a projected image on the table, transforming a small smartphone into a large screen with large keypad.
It is being increasingly seen that the size of the smartphone cannot be reduced due to the screen size and keypads. Now, the smartphone can fit on a keychain. Yes, yes, yes....