No Keyboard, No Kidding

In the middle of a dark night, you suddenly dream the answer to your company's $64,000 question. But you've got to get it in writing before you lose it. You stumble down the hall, guided by a weirdly glowing red light emanating from the den, where your PDA sits on the coffee table. The ghostly glow draws you like the proverbial moth to the flame. You drop onto the couch, stretch out your hands . . . and begin typing on the full-sized virtual keyboard projected in soft, clear light onto your coffee table.



A dream? Nope. It's the Integrated Canesta Keyboard, a dreamy solution to the problem of supporting typing-intensive applications on tiny mobile or wireless devices—or anywhere full-sized, mechanical keyboards just don't work well.

Canesta powers its virtual wonder with "electronic perception technology." Lasers; infrared radiation; high-performance, low-cost embedded sensors; and software enable myriad devices to collect and interpret 3D images in real time. And it all happens by battery power—no additional burdens for the host processor.

SENSORS EXPO & CONFERENCE

Sensors 2019 Hits Silicon Valley June 25-27!

Join 7,000+ engineers this June in San Jose at the sensor industry’s biggest event! With 65+ Technical Sessions, 100+ Leading Speakers, 10 new and updated tracks, and 300+ Interactive Exhibits, there’s more opportunity than ever to connect with this booming industry and the technologies driving it. See thousands of the newest technologies in action, learn about the latest applications, and develop invaluable partnerships at the only event dedicated to sensors, connectivity, and systems.

In the case of the ghostly keyboard, just three components make the magic. A laser "pattern projector" about the size of a cigarette lighter projects the image of a full-sized keyboard onto any convenient flat surface (briefcase, flip-down airplane tray, etc.). As you type on the glowing image, a light source illuminates your fingers so that the sensor can see them.

The sensor instantly resolves your finger movements into ordinary serial keystroke data and transmits those data to your wireless or mobile device. Voila—you type away, with nary a care about drowning your keyboard in coffee. It's essentially the same process for mouse users.

Besides their benefit to users of tiny mobiles, virtual keyboards would also work wonders for larger, nonmobile devices in cramped workplaces. Other intriguing possibilities: environments where reliability and cleanliness are issues—hospitals and clean rooms, for example.

Rather than selling direct to consumers, Canesta works with OEMs and device manufacturers. They can grab some glow of their own by integrating the keyboard into their products or offering it as an add-on.

Contact Canesta, Inc., San Jose, CA; 408-435-1400, www.canesta.com .

Suggested Articles

Sensors Expo 2019: Ultra-Low Power Edge Architecture Enables Always-on Sensing

When it comes to energy harvesting, there are two main misperceptions.

The top 50 persons making the sensors world innovate, progress, and maintain a modicum of sanity.