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(Pocket-lint) - Created by Israeli ex-military engineers, the ingenious I.TECH virtual keyboard is the perfect space saving device for mobile business. The compact, rechargeable, unit combines aspects of infer red and laser light technologies to project a trapezium shaped keyboard onto any flat surface, allowing you to type away as normal. A single charge of the internal battery will give up to 2 hours work of continuous typing. On the units underside a micro switch has been fitted so the unit will shut off immediately it is picked up, just to avoid any Jean Michel-Jarre-style accidents with the laser. The company that produces the unit has already has a good deal of interest from industry sectors that need to input data in ‘Clean' environments such as surgical spaces or laboratories.

Every keystroke is accompanied by a sound effect, informing you that the system has successfully registered you intended action. Sensitivity of the keyboard can be tailored to individual preferences, in the menus on the device you have attached. The users action is detected when the light dots at the rear of the character-denoted area are fully obscured. The makers claim a maximum detection rate of 400 strokes per minute, although trailing fingers breaking other characters sensor areas can slow things down a little at first. At the moment the I.Tech is compatible with several of the HP iPaq's, the latest Palms and the SPV and XDA smart phones as well as PCs. The keyboard projector-block attaches via cables into the snyc ports or in the case of PCs via the serial port. The designers are looking a ways to make the keyboard ‘universally' accepted by all mobile devices in the near future.


Overall the I.TECH virtual keyboard is an attractive alternative to standard text inputting format for PDA, or smart phones. The manufacturers don't labour under illusions that it will replace full-sized keyboards. Users whose have mastered the holy grail of data input, ‘Touch-typing', will be sorely disappointed to learn that the constant hovering of fingers, in preparation of the next keystroke, will cause more characters to be entered in error than intentionally, so with the I.TECH slowly means accurately.

Writing by Charlie Brewer.