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Brookstone - Virtual Laser Keyboard

There's nothing like lasers to make high tech even cooler -- as demonstrated by the new Brookstone Virtual Keyboard.

This is a small box (around 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1/2 inch) that projects a virtual keyboard on any flat surface, so you can type away without needing to carry around a bulky keyboard.

The projected keyboard is around 3 1/2 x 10 inches, and includes a full row of function keys.

The Virtual Keyboard does Bluetooth, so it works wirelessly with smartphones and tablets (and laptops). And it has a microUSB port so you can cable it directly to a computer.

It also has a virtual mouse mode, which you can use to control the cursor, click, and do two-finger gestures.

Of course, you use the projected keyboard to enable the mouse mode, and to control other setting options. The front of the unit has an OLED display which shows status icons, battery level, and the last three characters typed.

The settings include the brightness of the projected keyboard (plenty bright even in bright light), the volume of the key click sound, and sensitivity for different lighting conditions. There's even built-in typing games.

The way the virtual keyboard works is to project the keys using a red laser, and then use an infrared laser to layer an invisible plane of light a few millimeters above the surface. As your fingers touch the surface, a sensor then triangulates the IR reflection into a keypress.

You also can choose between a one-finger typing mode and an all-in mode centered on the home row J and F keys.

With a little practice, you can type pretty reliably with one or two-finger typing, much as you might on a tablet display -- including using the shift key and backspace.

The Brookstone Virtual Keyboard is available from Brookstone for $99.99. Did I mention that it uses lasers...

See my Holiday Gadgets and Wireless Accessories 2013 coverage for more on portable devices.

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This entry posted on October 31, 2013.

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