Holographic? Standard Size Keyboard

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Holographic? Standard Size Keyboard

Postby Kellemora » 29 Sep 2013, 10:27

Last night I stopped by a small restaurant where we used to hold our critique group meetings.
Over time, this location became overcrowded with folks spending hours using it as their away from home work station.

I finally got to see one of those non-keyboard keyboards! Or Laser Keyboard if you prefer.

What caught my eye, besides it being a Laser Keyboard, was the fact she was using it with painted glue on fingernails.

Why this caught my eye?
I had an opportunity to use a similar type of device a couple of years ago. It obviously functioned considerably different than this unit. Cost a lot more too!
The device I used, you could rest your fingers on the home keys, as with a standard keyboard, and the laser detected the color change of your fingernails, when you tapped a key.

I watched her work for awhile before approaching her to find out the name of the device.
I notice she kept the heel of her palms on the edge of the table, so her fingers remained well above the keyboard.
She explained the device is ideal for a standard tabletop height. Most computer desks have a keyboard drawer under the desk, at a comfortable typing height. So using a standard keyboard, or even a laptop at a restaurant, poses a problem in holding your arms and hands at a safe and comfortable working angle.
Once she figured out the device works best when used on a standard height table or desk, and to not try to place her fingers on the home keys, she finally mastered typing on it as well as on a standard keyboard.

If you are sitting at a computer desk, with your hands on a keyboard in a drawer below the desk, reach up and set the heel of your palms on the edge of your desk above the keyboard.
Notice that your fingers naturally stay about 1/2 to 1 inch above the desktop, if you have your hands just far enough forward to type comfortable.

If you adjust the position of the keyboard image, so the center of the spacebar is 1-1/2 to 2 inches from the edge of the tabletop, your fingers should be above the home position.
She let me sit in her seat and give it a whirl.
It takes a little practice, but within about five minutes, I was typing without errors at my comfortable rate of speed.

She was using a very large screen cell phone, perhaps an ipad? that normally used an onscreen keyboard. It was leaning at a viewing angle, against a condiment holder.
I bring that up, because when her phone beeped a text message inbound. She never touched the phone, she just made a couple of keyboard entries and suddenly she had a mouse arrow on her phone and selected to view the text message. After setting it to reply, she clicked a couple of other keys, the mouse arrow disappeared and she could enter the text from this Laser keyboard.

She said it uses Bluetooth, but she can also plug it in a USB port, too keep the batteries from draining too fast. Her cell phone goes dead fast enough already, so she uses Bluetooth with it.

The brand Laser Keyboard she had is: Celluon Magic Cube, she paid under 150 bucks for it new on Amazon. She used three or four different brands, owned by her friends, before deciding on this brand. Because she could keep her nails done up nice! And because the others cost more.

I don't do texting, nor use a laptop for writing, nor have or want a Schmartz-Fone. However, after using this keyboard on a standard height table, I may consider it as a companion to a laptop, when working under adverse conditions.
Before I left, she set it in mouse mode. I really liked how the mouse worked. None of this almost working touchpad mouse problems. You simply moved your finger around on the area of the Laser keyboard, and it could be set to any setting you prefer. Including very tiny detail for artwork movements. It also had, right click, scroll both ways and spread screen features, which probably only work on cellphones.

I just thought someone here might like to know about this device and how it works.
Without seeing how she used it, I would have never thought of tabletop height using the edge of the table as home for the heels of your palms. Frustrated, I would toss it in a closet along with my laptops and forget about it.

TTUL
Gary
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Re: Holographic? Standard Size Keyboard

Postby Paris » 02 Oct 2013, 00:01

I don't get it. I thought something like that was actually a touch-screen type of thing -- that uses resistive touch.

Obviously, it doesn't, if you don't have to actually place your fingertips on it.

Explain!
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Re: Holographic? Standard Size Keyboard

Postby Yogi » 02 Oct 2013, 07:10

They explain, more or less, how it works here: http://www.celluon.com/technology_how_it_works.php

The technology seems to be a take off of some very old touch screen devices that I've seen more than twenty years ago. This keyboard goes one better by using holographic 3D sensing whereas the old device I'm thinking of was 2D. It looks pretty interesting and may be worth a try, but my fingers don't sit up in the air with the palms of my hands at the edge of my desktop. I'm trying to imagine how I'd keep my fingers off t he keyboard in between keystrokes.

The big advantage I see to this method of input is that it has no moving parts and would be immune to spilling the morning coffee on the keyboard. The lettering on the keys would never wear out and apparently you can do up to 350 characters a minute before you exceed it's capacity. :mrgreen:
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Re: Holographic? Standard Size Keyboard

Postby Kellemora » 02 Oct 2013, 13:18

Hi Yogi

I learned to type on a Manual typewriter. A lot of folks had trouble using a manual typewriter, especially if they used an electric first. The main reason for this is on a manual typewriter, you do not press the keys down, you snap the keys.
Which is hard to explain, unless you've used a manual typewriter. Yes, you do press the key down, but very quickly and withdraw your finger allowing the key to fall back. Otherwise you had several strike-arms all clogged up, stuck together.

On an electric, although you still rested your fingers on the home keys, you could not apply the amount of weight allowed on a manual typewriter. For many of us, it meant that we would fill a page up with like the letter a or l for example, until we learned to rest the palms of our hand to take the weight. I have a palm rest on all of my standard keyboards.

When using a standard keyboard, your arms should be level or just a tad below level.
If you set your keyboard on top of a table, your arms are often uphill.
This is not only uncomfortable, but could cause stresses that lead to things like carpal tunnel syndrome.

However, if you are at a normal height table, without a keyboard above it, and set the palms of your hands just right, the tabletop itself is not an uncomfortable typing position.
It only took my about 1-1/2 minutes before I found that sweet spot my palms should rest, so that my fingers were just above the invisible infrared signal. Then it took at least another 2 full minutes, before I was comfortable typing, without pressing keys down.
The difference is not much different than going from a manual typewriter to electric. Only this case, you are going from pressing keys to merely moving your finger downward onto a tabletop, without doing any pressing at all.
Takes much less finger energy. About like using a touch screen, except there is no screen there to touch, just the tabletop.

The earlier device I tried, you did have to press on the tabletop, because the device picked up a color change in your fingernail when you pressed on the table. I don't think this device went over very big, and was fraught with mistakes, either not picking up the letter pressed, or picking up ones you didn't press, just because you were resting on the home key area.

I don't think it will replace a standard keyboard anytime soon. But for those using pain in the arse devices like laptops or using their thumbs on cell phone sized keyboards, I think they will like having this feature.
In fact, I can picture this being added to cell phones and tablets, long before voice recognition becomes foolproof enough to use in a crowded restaurant.

I honestly was surprised how well the device worked. The whole trick was to get the palms of your hands at just the right place on the edge of the table, so you were not accidentally pressing keys. Like anything else, it would take some getting used to. I still think the part I liked best was how accurate and easy it was to use as a mouse. Beats a touch pad all to heck.

As an aside, the first optical mouse my frau bought would not work on her gloss green desktop. It was a pure color with no graining or variations, like a sheet of plastic almost. But it worked perfect on her cherry wood desktop. I have no idea what optical meeces look for, but obviously it has to detect movement by sight of what it passes over. No grain to pick up, to sense it was moved.

TTUL
Gary
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