Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard
The Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard from Celluon and ThinkGeek is a small device that actually beams a virtual keyboard on your desktop or other flat surface with a laser. It then reads your finger movements and sends your keystrokes to basically any Bluetooth compatible device such as the iPhone, the iPad, BlackBerry or even your PC or laptop.
One of the biggest issues with many virtual keyboards, whether they are laser driven on a table or on a touch screen, is the lack of tactical feedback. Since it’s only light on a surface, you don’t get the feel of keys actually being depressed, which is a bit uncomfortable for some, but you do get the sound now. The Cube Laser actually plays a click noise when a key is hit to give you that audio signal that many typists rely on.
The tips of your fingers won’t feel much difference. This is because you are still basically ending the keystroke on a solid surface, unlike keys that move up and down when you type on them. But what makes the iPad generally hard to type on is the angle for which your hands have to be. This provides a more comfortable feel in that respect because you can rest your wrists on the table as you type and it’s more of the size of a full keyboard, which makes it feel less cramped. But if you are used to a standard keyboard, it may take some getting used to, but if you are already using an iPad, than the transition should be pretty easy. I found the Cube Laser to be very responsive and pretty smooth once I got into it a bit.
The laser and sensor is all in one unit, compacted into a very small space. It is small enough to fit in your hand, so you can take it with you in your pocket or backpack wherever you go. And the futuristic feel of having a keyboard just appear on a table is sure to gain the attention of friends and strangers at the college cafeteria or the local Starbucks.
Charging it is easy. You just plug the USB cable into any powered USB port, whether it’s a computer or something designed specifically for charging. The rechargeable batteries last around 150 minutes on a single charge, which gives you plenty of time to work on that term paper or office report in the great outdoors or even in the break room. The USB also allows it to work on its power and so having it plugged into a power supply will let it work without the 150 minute limit.
The Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard is available now from ThinkGeek, but it’s not cheap. It runs around $170, but for the businessman on the go, the geek who just loves gadgets (like me), or just someone who likes to live in the future, it’s not a bad deal for what it is.