Concept Of Projection Keyboards



Invented and patented by IBM engineers in 1992, a projection keyboard is a wireless, virtual keyboard that can be projected and touched on any surface. It is a hologram of a keyboard that is produced with the help of laser and infrared technology. The keyboard watches finger movements and translates them into keystrokes in the device it is connected to. The keyboard is an image projected by light, and so it disappears completely when not in use. 

An image of the projector used to display the virtual keyboard : 



  • A video projector with the dimensions 90 x 34 x 24 mm projects virtual keyboard onto any flat surface .
  • This projector is about the size of a fountain pen.
  • They are not physical objects.


There are three components:

Projection Keyboard IR Light Source
Illuminates the users fingers so they can be seen by the Sensor Module.

Projection Keyboard Pattern Projector
Projects the image of a keyboard on a flat surface.

Projection Keyboard Sensor Module
Sees the users fingers and interprets finger movements into keystrokes.


It uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your PDAs, Smart phones, and all computers. A system called the P-ISM will combine the technology with a small video projector to create a portable, virtual keyboard. P-ISM is a Pen sized personal computing system. 


  • iPhone , iPad
  • Blackberry tablet
  • Android 2.0 and higher
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Mac OS and any device with Bluetooth support


Light source – Red diode laser
Detection Rate – Up to 400 characters per minute
Projection surface – Non-reflective, opaque flat surface
Power Source – 3.6V rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Battery Capacity – 120 minutes continuous typing
Keyboard size – 295 x 95mm projected keyboard size
Keyboard layout – 63 key / full sized QWERTY layout


  • A laser or beamer projects visible virtual keyboard onto level surface.
  • A sensor or camera in the projector picks up finger movements.
  • Detected co-ordinates determine actions or characters to be generated.

Some devices use a second (invisible infrared) beam:

  • An invisible infrared beam is projected above the virtual keyboard.
  • Finger makes keystroke on virtual keyboard. This breaks infrared beam and infrared light is reflected back to projector.
  • Reflected infrared beam passes through infrared filter to camera.
  • Camera photographs angle of incoming infrared light.
  • Sensor chip determines where infrared beam was broken.
  • Detected coordinates determine actions or characters to be generated.

Diagrammatic representation of the working of a projection keyboard : 



  • They are highly versatile and flexible.
  • Compatible with most gadgets that has a keyboard on it.
  • Small and compact.
  • It is an easy to carry and easy to use device which makes typing and mailing much easier.
  • The virtual laser keyboard projection is useful for those who travel a lot or for those who have problems typing on their Smart phones or PDAs.

Laser projection keyboard :


This tiny device laser-projects a keyboard on any flat surface. 


You can then type away accompanied by simulated key click sound. It has the typing speeds of a standard keyboards. 




The automotive industry is said to be interested in creating three dimensional images in real time for airbag deployment. The technology could be used in security systems. And video games could be played using gestures instead of controls.They are suitable for those who work in industrial environments, clean rooms or sterile and medical environments.”Giving machines such perceptual capabilities would make possible a whole new class of devices and products.”