Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, February 7, 2003

Light-based Full Projection Keyboard for Mobile Devices

Canesta Keyboard
= breakthrough tool
New Technology

A new technology allowing the use of light-made keyboards on mobile devices like PDAs, palmtops and other portable computing devices has just been released and made available to integrators.

This new technology enables a keyboard to be projected onto a flat surface using a beam of light, which can then be typed on.

The Canesta Keyboard Sensor Module operates by locating the user's fingers in 3-D space and tracking the intended keystrokes.

The Canesta keyboard is made of three key components: an invisible light source, a pattern projector for the keyboard, and a sensor chip. This last one chip enables the machine to "see" in real-time by tracking nearby objects in 3D.

The pattern projector uses an internal laser to project the image of a full-sized keyboard on a nearby flat surface. The keyboard is the familiar QWERTY English keyboard, but can also be customised to any non-English or even non-Roman character set.

According to the company users will need an uncluttered, stable table-top on which to project the keyboard.

The Canesta Keyboard sports large input keys and a familiar QWERTY layout. According to usability tests run by the company, input speeds in excess of 50 words-per-minute can be easily reached, with error rates similar to that of a standard physical keyboard setting.

Since the Canesta Keyboard Perception Chipset works by optically tracking finger movements rather than registering the physical switches of a regular keyboard, users can use the same surface for both keyboard data entry and mouse functionality.

The default projected keyboard pattern has been optimized to improve typing accuracy and include shortcut keys for popular applications.

To further improve usability, the Canesta Pattern Projector features adjustable brightness levels so that both manufacturers and end users can configure the Pattern Projector to best meet the unique requirements of the application environment and their individual preferences.

Two years in development, the virtual keyboard is the brainchild of Canesta co-founder, Cyrus Bamji, who has five degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology covering physics, maths, electrical engineering and computer science.

The company established in 1999 with Nazim Kareemi has received over USD $ 20 million in funding. Investors in Canesta, which has filed for or has been granted more than 30 patents, interestingly include Carlyle Venture Partners, Apax Partners and JPMorgan Partners. With this information it does not surprise to read that Canesta is also currently investigating ways in which its electronic perception technology can be used in areas such as video games, the military, and medicine.

Canesta officials declared that the product should be integrated into mobile devices by the first half of next year.

See an image of what your future keyboard may look like by going to: products.htm news.html?code=8626026



See a 30-sec video clip of this incredible tool at: keyboard.wmv

a full FAQ section is available at:

Readers' Comments    
2006-03-04 17:29:45

Andrew lee

Celluon virtual laser keyboard.

2004-10-26 23:22:02

the VKB is now available to the public in -

2004-03-29 17:57:48

Norma Glock

My Exploratory class is interested in learning more about projected keyboards. Can they be re-configured for a keyboard of our choice rather than the normal QWERTY keyboard? How much would it cost for us to get one keyboard to try in our classroom?
Norma Glock, Librarian
Columbus Middle School
Columbus, Montana

posted by Robin Good on Friday, February 7 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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