By Diane Small
We love the idea of a laser-projected keyboard. It would save plastic, be less heavy to carry around, and let’s face it—it just sounds like a super fun idea, to be ‘typing on air.’ So it was with great delight that we learned Chinese company Lenovo has just unveiled a new phone that has a built-in laser projector that allows the user to type on a virtual keyboard.
The Smart Cast phone was revealed at the company’s Tech World conference in Beijing, where they also unveiled a new smart watch, which does pretty much the same stuff that their phone does—indeed, it comes equipped with the same virtual keyboard or display. The interactive display can also be used to beam images and videos onto walls—perfect for presentations at work, and for watching movies and TV at home.
The laser projector measures 34mm by 26mm by 5mm and it doesn’t need to focus to project sharp images onto walls or other flat surfaces. A kickstand mounted on the back of the phone keeps it upright while the keyboard is in use.
The implications are huge—this could be the end of the television! Just as the DVD player died out with digital films and television, this new technology could also eliminate the need for another home appliance that has become ubiquitous around the globe, but becomes an enormous polluter when thrown out. Their toxic contents are often not recycled properly and leak into water tables and soil, and even when they are recycled, the dangerous metals and chemicals inside damage the health of those taking them apart.
Levono isn’t the first to launch such an idea—Samsung came up with something similar in 2012—and there are issues with this technology: for example, you’ll need a fairly dimly lit room to see the displays properly. But we’re really excited about this innovation and hope that it soon becomes as standard as cameras in each and every smart phone.