See the Light: A Virtual Keyboard to Go

Wednesday May 12th 2004 by James Alan Miller
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Forget about dragging a folding keyboard around with your PDA — that's so last year. The Virtual Laser Keyboard from iBiz let's you input data with light. All you need is a flat surface.

Here's a handy device for anyone who's ever raged in frustration while trying to input data using the teeny tiny keys on a PDA or smartphone: the Virtual Laser Keyboard from PDA-accessory vendor iBIZ Technology.

The keyboard was a huge hit at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last January. So big, in fact, that iBiz had to relocate production to a larger facility, a move that delayed product shipment. The keyboard is finally available — good news for hand-cramped PDA owners everywhere.

The Virtual Laser Keyboard uses a laser beam of light to project the image of a full-size QWERTY keyboard onto just about any flat surface where you can place a PDA or smartphone — a desk, the floor, on the hood of your car — use your imagination. Simply type on the projected image. It sells for $99.99

A great companion for anyone on the go, the Virtual Laser Keyboard works with Palm OS and Pocket PC handhelds, as well as laptops and desktop PCs. This cool, compact device has no moving parts and — because it's virtual — it's easier to travel with and to use than keyboards that either fold or roll up. Of course, people who prefer the feedback that real keyboards offer may find typing on the hard surface of a desk a little less satisfying.

The keyboard communicates with PDAs or PCs via a USB/serial cable connection, weighs two ounces and is just about the same size as a disposable cigarette lighter. IBIZ says future models will incorporate Bluetooth and IR Wireless Connections.

The Virtual Laser Keyboard includes a self-contained, rechargeable lithium ion battery, which provides the Virtual Laser Keyboard with its own internal power supply, so it doesn't drain any power from the PDA. The company says the battery lasts three to four hours — we wished it lasted longer.

Adapted from pdastreet.com.

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