Virtual Keyboards: A Cure For Finger Cramps

VKB's adds flexibility to mobile devices.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 21, 2002

2 Min Read

Typing information into mobile devices usually feels about as natural as a linebacker riding a Big Wheel. VKB Inc. believes it's found a way to eliminate finger cramping with its "virtual keyboard," unveiled at the CeBIT technology fair being held this week in Germany.

All that's needed to use the keyboard is a flat surface. Using laser technology, a bright red image of a keyboard is projected from a device such as a handheld. Detection technology based on optical recognition allows users to tap the images of the keys so the virtual keyboard behaves like a real one. It's designed to support any typing speed, says Amichai Turm, one of VKB's co-founders and its chief technology officer. The Jerusalem company, whose primary venture-capital backer is Argoquest Holdings, plans to sell licenses and components to mobile-device manufacturers where size, weight, and power consumption are primary concerns.

But VKB's technology isn't limited to virtual keyboards, Turm says. The company is also demonstrating a virtual mouse, and the technology could replace other human interfaces such as phone keypads or on-off switches for lights.

The basic idea for a virtual keyboard emerged when Boaz Arnon, VKB's other co-founder, considered how much computers have changed during the past 20 years. Says Turm: "We use different processors, operating systems, screens, hard disks, and modems, yet there is one component that has been the same for decades--the keyboard."

Reaction to the virtual keyboard at CeBIT has been "unbelievable," Turm says: "We get hundreds of E-mails a day from guys asking to buy one, and the numbers are increasing constantly." Siemens Procurement and Logistic Services will distribute VKB's product in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, he says, and VKB is working on deals with several other partners.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights