The future of peripherals, in a glass pane
Writers and movie-makers have gotten us to dream about this for years: a sexy transparent glass panel which we can type or doodle around to interact with a computer system. This is not too far away from us, now that a Kickstarter project is underway to bring this to fruition.
A sci-fi-esque keyboard or trackpad made solely out of a pane of glass may be coming to you soon. Engineer, inventor and entrepreneur Jason Giddings brings this technology to reality with his Kickstarter project titled Multi-Touch Keyboard and Mouse.
Using the existing technology called Frustrated Total Internal Reflection (FTIR), light from mounted LEDs on one edge of the keyboard panel will bounce internally in a zig-zag path against the two large surfaces of the glass at its rest state. When typing begins, contact is made between the glass panel and the finger, breaking the internal reflection and thus directing the light downwards into a camera. This is then processed to determine which keys are ‘pressed’. Similar mechanism is deployed to register gestures as well.
This project can be seen as part of a step towards further minimizing the appearance and presence of hardware from a mobile device, which is a different level from making thinner smartphones. This brings us closer to many concept renders depicting the day when handsets and computer may appear no more than just be a pane of glass.
Visit the Kickstarter website to see how you can contribute to materializing this amazing concept.