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GPD's Glass Multitouch Keyboard hands-on

GPD's Glass Multitouch Keyboard hands-on


Giddings Product Design's glass multitouch keyboard uses lots of technology to turn a full glass panel into a full touchscreen keyboard.

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The Glass Multitouch Keyboard by Giddings Product Development is a futuristic piece of technology that was recently funded on Kickstater, but it seems too outlandish to be real. It's essentially a curved piece of Gorilla Glass 2 that uses frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) to register touches across the 19-inch wide surface area, while the circuitry will live in its base. We saw a non-working prototype with a traditional QWERTY and numpad etched on it, but it will come as a completely clear slab.

It works by sending IR beams through the edge-lit glass continuously, and two cameras below the glass capture your finger's location when the touch disrupts the signals. It will be capable of multitouch gestures, offer custom layouts, pack Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and simulate tactile feedback with its built in speakers. Windows, Mac, and iOS compatibility are all planned — and it's the software that will either make or break this device. Creator Jason Giddings told us the software will purportedly be intelligent enough to allow resting fingers on the display, which is a common gripe with many current touchscreen keyboards.

While this sort of technology isn't entirely new, its application into a computer peripheral is novel. The project raised nearly $150,000 on Kickstarter and attracted the attention of Swiss software company SST, who invested in the concept and has committed to help make it work. After the first batch goes out to $250 Kickstarter backers in "early May," units will start shipping to Europe for medical use. To be honest, we'll have to hold off judgment until we can try a working model for ourselves, but if it actually ends up working as advertised it could be one of the most interesting keyboards out there.