Walking down the huge halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, I ran into Jason Giddings and David Rogers. You may know them as the guys who threw out the idea for a crazy glass keyboard that uses infrared lights and cameras to track your typing. Well, it's real.
What started out as a concept tossed out onto Kickstarter for donations is officially a thing. Tentatively called the "Multi-touch Keyboard," the peripheral is Bluetooth wireless and sits on a metal base (it'll be connectable via USB too). An infrared LED projects a light onto the glass. An IR camera then picks up the scattered light particles that your finger touches would create — turning each touch into a registered press.
The prototype I saw floating around at CES (Giddings and Rogers didn't have a booth) was rock solid, although a bit heavy. There's no force feedback, but the keys will be backlit. If there's enough interest, the duo might explore the possibility of pressure-sensitive keys. That would be a delight. Otherwise, typing would be akin to that on a non-force feedback tablet.
Due to the glass nature of the keyboard, you can print out your own keyboard layout as well, which would be a godsend for video producers who heavily rely on keyboard shortcuts.
Giddings says that interested parties include Lenovo and Microsoft. Either company would be fine, if it means getting to type on one of these glass panels.
Ideally, the keyboard will sell at a $100-$200 price point, although Giddings and Rogers admit the first models will likely hover in the $500-$600 range. First orders should be available within about three months or so.
Would you pay $500-$600 for a keyboard from the future? I wish I could, but that amount is a good chunk of my rent.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas.