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What Is a Holographic Keyboard?

A holographic keyboard is a virtual input device that projects a laser-generated keyboard layout onto a flat surface, allowing you to type without physical keys. It's a blend of futuristic tech and practicality, offering portability and a touch of sci-fi to your daily tasks. Curious about how it could revolutionize your typing experience? Let's dive deeper into this technological marvel.
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

A holographic keyboard typically refers to an electronic device that uses a projected display of a keyboard rather than a physical input device. While the term “holographic” is used, these devices do not necessarily use actual holographic technology, but instead project an image and use motion sensing hardware to track user interactions. This creates an interactive interface of light on a flat, two-dimensional (2D) surface, rather than an actual fully realized three-dimensional (3D) holographic image. A holographic keyboard can be used with a number of different devices, such as desktop and laptop computers as well as mobile phones, providing a portable solution to text input needs.

Though some devices may be referred to as a holographic keyboard, for the most part such devices do not use actual holographic technology. A hologram is created using light with wave interference that allows the way in which light strikes an object to effectively be recorded. This can then be used to “play back” the recording of the light to re-create that object in 3D space using only light and not the original object. A holographic keyboard does not typically create a fully realized 3D image of a keyboard, though this is certainly possible, but instead simply projects a 2D image onto a flat surface.

Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

The use of a holographic keyboard allows someone to quickly and easily create a virtual keyboard on any non-reflective surface. A holographic keyboard usually consists of a fairly small device, often small enough to fit into a pocket or laptop bag, which projects the image of a keyboard onto a surface. This is usually done using basic light and lasers to make the outline of each key as well as the corresponding letter in each one. Motion-tracking hardware in the device is then able to track the movements of a user and determine what “key” the user is touching.

A number of interactive virtual surfaces can be created in much the same way as a holographic keyboard, including touch screens. This allows such technology to be quickly and easily transported to just about any location and setting. A holographic keyboard can be connected to various types of hardware to allow for a user to create a keyboard for any hardware in any setting. These devices can be connected to desktop and laptop computers, often for aesthetic reasons, and may be more practical when used with a mobile phone or similar small device to create a full keyboard in just about any setting.

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Discussion Comments


@allenJo - Yeah, I like the idea of being able to connect the device to your laptop or mobile phone.

Instantly, you have a whole instrument in your pocket or carry on bag. You certainly can’t do that with your grand piano.

Of course, you don’t get foot pedals with your holographic keyboard, but I see it as an easy way to flesh out the basics of compositions, and then you can transform your creative brilliance to a real keyboard later on.


Somehow when I think of a hologram keyboard the first thing that comes to mind is the giant piano keyboard that Tom Hanks danced on in the movie “Big.”

Now, I realize that was not a holographic keyboard, just a very big one, but it illustrates the principle. Keyboards can be as big or as small as you want them to be.

Nowadays with so many keyboards consisting of nothing more than touch technology anyway, the holographic keyboard is not so far out a concept when you think about it.

The only difference is that it transforms any surface into a keyboard, and so it’s more an issue of convenience than anything else I think.

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