CES 2013: Magic Cube laser-projects a big virtual keyboard on any surface

By , Jan 9, 2013

Fan-made concepts envisioning an iPhone with a laser projection keyboard are so captivating that even Fox 5 News thought the iPhone 5 has one built-in. While we have our doubts as to whether or not Apple would even consider such a technology, the prospect is tantalizing, at least on the paper. And now, one company has sought out to turn it into a reality. Enter the aptly named Magic Cube from Celluon.

What this gadget does is it enhances your device with a cool laser projection keyboard while also doubling as a virtual multi-touch mouse for your computer. Just to dispel any doubts: it’s not a proof-of-concept. This thing is as real as real gets and works as advertised. The little Bluetooth accessory will effectively laser-project a full-size QWERTY keyboard on nearly any flat, opaque surface to let you type away on its big virtual ‘keys’…

Built on Celluon’s Electronic Perception Technology, the Cube has the laser keyboard pattern projector, which does exactly what the name implies, and the central optical sensor working in tandem with the infrared layer emitter to determine the exact position of your fingers as you type.

It’s small and light enough to be carried around and because it uses Bluetooth, setting it up is as simple as pairing a Magic Box to your iOS device or a Mac.

I love the power saving mode invoked with a ‘key’ combination and how you turn it back on with a gesture. Celluon says that because the Magic Cube uses an invisible infrared layer, typing is “a little bit different” than with physical keys.

Celluon Magic Cube

Seth Weintraud who runs 9to5 sites had a chance to try the gizmo firsthand at CES, here’s what he found out:

For me, it was immediately accurate. As you can see in the video above it just works. I only mis-typed one character out of about 100 words typed and it felt like I could really get used to this type of system. That’s something I never thought possible before this initial try.

The web site’s Jordan Kahn recorded his own demo, though it doesn’t do full justice to its capabilities because “our camera didn’t pick up the red keyboard very well”.

The Magic Cube works with Macs and iOS devices running iOS4 and later, Android 2.0 or later, Windows XP or later or any Bluetooth HID device for that matter.

In addition to the Magic Cube itself, Celluon also sells an iPhone case version of the Cube. The Magic Cube retails for $149.99, comes in four colors (silver, red, white, black) and can be picked up over at the Celluon web store.

To startups looking for the next big story in portable accessories: take a closer look at this student’s invisible virtual keyboard which taps the iPhone’s accelerometer sensor to measure the strength and frequency of the microscopic vibrations occuring when “typing” on a surrounding surface area.

The future is now.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Jonathan

    Its a bit thick. I’ll still wait for a projected keyboard which is smaller.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595420643 Simche Apple Konstantinovic

    Apple, please buy this company and implement this feature in future iDevices…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

      Apple please buy the whole world so i can jailbreak it.

  • http://twitter.com/BUSfromRUS Alexander Bus

    “…had a chance to try the gizmo firsthand”
    The device of this kind was out for more that seven years. What sort of a first look you are talking about?

    P.S. First bluetooth laser keyboard I remember was around since 2005.

    • http://twitter.com/JosephSeeyou Joseph Seeyou

      Yep, saw it a couple years ago hooked up to an iPad.

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com/author/dujkan Christian Zibreg

      I am talking about a first-look into the Celluon device and in no way imply that other companies have not been offering similar devices in years past.

      • http://twitter.com/BUSfromRUS Alexander Bus

        I get that but the whole article is written like it’s the first laser keyboard ever. “And now, one company has sought out to turn it into a reality.”, “Just to dispel any doubts: it’s not a proof-of-concept. This thing is as real as real gets and works as advertised.”, “The future is now.”.
        I feel like I read an old magazine from the Nineties and that’s really misinforming.

        How you’re not implying that other companies have not been offering similar devices in years past? You are basically saying “Holy cow, this is so new!”(shortened quotes from above) and feel like it’s not saying that it’s first of a kind? Sounds like it is to me.

      • seyss

        exactly what I thought..

    • Imahottguy

      From what I’ve read the past models weren’t terribly accurate, working only off of IR sensors. If this ‘optical’ sensor is any good they may have something.

  • seyss

    holy shit.. nice.. but nothing replaces the physical key feedback

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      exactly…

  • Suapra

    You can buy this thing since more than a year now, and I always liked it, but 150 Dollars? No Way!

  • Z3r0ViP

    First the sharp’s glass now this. Tony Stark’s house, here I come.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathanentwistle Nathan Entwistle

    I like it, but it’s not cubed shaped, that really bugs me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    very lame

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

    I would rather buy a pico beamer for 150 Dollar

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zeljko-Nikolic/1646404156 Zeljko Nikolic

    I will Put that thing on my stomach so my wife can enjoy hehe ….finger massage

  • Daniel

    This should be CEC – Consumer Electronics Crap.