Pace - IT Adaptive Tech Reviews
Friday, February 17, 2006
  Review: VKB Virtual Laser Keyboard
VKB Virtual Laser Keyboard - $199
By all measures the VKB Virtual Laser Keyboard has the "Cool" factor, but how well does it work? There are two models, one with Bluetooth wireless connectivity and one without. The model I have available doesn't have Bluetooth so I was unable to test it with the Dell Axim. There were quite a few adaptor cords included including a serial cable to connect to Desktop and Laptop PCs. I don't know if the Bluetooth version includes the cables to allow the greatest range of flexibility or not. The only viable reason to use it with a Desktop or Laptop PC is cases where a sterile situation is needed like a hospital operating room.
Here's the VKB product website link.

CNet review 4.9 out of 10 - Mediocre.

User reviews 6.6 out of 10 - Mixed reaction.

The CNet reviewer only gave it mediocre ratings but many user reviewers gave it perfect marks. The biggest difficulty mentioned was company support and compatibility problems.
Here's the CNet review link.


There are several alternatives out there and some have even higher Wow factor. Some do not produce a virtual keyboard image at all and work like an air guitar and let you actually type in mid-air. That makes me wonder if they have an air guitar version after all.
Here's the link for alternative virtual keyboards.
Other alternatives depend on what you're connected to. There are many fold-open keyboards for PDAs for about $60 but those probably won't work with your Tablet PC or laptop, though why would you need it to?

Adaptive Use

Some of the benefits to this keyboard are its portability, light weight, and that you get a full-size keyboard anywhere. There is also no problem with the key pressure being too firm since it will respond to movement not touch. It can also be used for multiple devices so once it is familiar it may become the preferred input method for some users.

Some of the downside is that multiple connection cables may be needed in addition to the bluetooth in order to make it work. It has been hard to find drivers and establish connections with some devices. You will also get lots of distractions from curious onlookers. It will only last two hours on a charge. It is geared to the touch typist and won't aid mobility impairments that much.
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