Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

DEMO Conference: The Mobile Future Beckons

Virtual Keyboard Could Empower Mobile Devices

Everyone wants their mobile devices to be small, but many people also curse the tiny, cryptic keyboards that manufacturers squeeze into smart phones and PDAs. The laws of physics have proved a significant barrier to solving this problem, but VKB Inc.'s Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard offers a possible solution.

Unveiled at this week's DEMO conference, VKB's technology uses a red laser to illuminate a virtual keyboard outline on virtually any surface. Despite its futuristic look, the laser is really just a visual guide to where to put your fingers. A separate IR illumination and sensor module invisibly tracks when and where your fingers touch the surface, translating that into keystrokes or other commands.

Manufactured for the Israeli- and Palo Alto, Calif.-based VKB by ITech, the BTVKB is a slick, black standalone unit about the size of a small fist. It connects to the device it controls via Bluetooth. The company announced that Radio Shack has agreed to sell the units (pricing has not yet been set). The company also said they will be available online for $199.

The units' lithium-ion batteries are estimated to last about 2.5 hours, and the unit ships with an AC adapter.

  • 1