Celluon, a Korean based company, was showing off their “Epic” Projection Keyboard this year at CES. Displayed both in it’s normal form as well as an upcoming R2-D2 version (see image to the right) that will release as soon as (or if) they obtain licensing from Disney. We took some time to play with it a number of times throughout convention so that we could could find out how well this little guy really works.
Surprisingly, it works very well as long as you don’t type too fast (it is *not* user-friendly if you are a fast typer). At first, we had assumed that while your fingers were flailing around hitting keys and blocking the beam of light in the process, that it would cause it confusion since it is being projected so close. However, just about every button press was recorded properly, give or take a few (much better than typing on a cellphone) as long as we moved at a relaxed pace. In fact, we felt that it came pretty close to the accuracy of using an everyday keyboard (again, at a relaxed speed).
The only thing that came into question (same as a virtual keyboard on a screen) was the fact that you couldn’t physically feel the buttons pressing down (obviously) like a normal keyboard, which always causes some form of disconnect between your fingers and your head. Once your brain has been long-wired to experiencing a physical keyboard, it becomes awkward at times to type on a non-tangible representation of one.
Regardless, it worked very well and was easy to use now that we all have spent so much time typing on mobile devices. The R2-D2 version was entertaining and we can see a lot of people jumping on board with these just for the geek factor.
The Epic comes in 7 different color options (silver, black, red, pink, blue, light yellow, and yellow) and wirelessly connects to your device via Bluetooth (the USB port is for charging only). It supports iOS4+, Android 4.0+, Mac OS X 10+, Windows XP+, Blackberry 10 devices and just about anything else that supports Bluetooth keyboards (including Windows 8+ tablets). It has an internal 660mah Lithium-ion battery so that it can remain wireless in your travels, however, battery life may only fall around 2 or more hours.
You can adjust the intensity (brightness) or the beam, the sound effects from the button presses as well as the sensitivity.
The Epic is a fun little gadget, however the price tag may be little higher than it should be due to the fact that you have to move at a relaxed pace for accuracy. Also the battery life could be a little more impressive as 2+ hours doesn’t seem to impress any of us who took the opportunity to try it out. If any of us were mobile, we would prefer not to have to charge it so quickly. Given, this is based on stories and specs alone and we do not have one in front of us here at the office, so we haven’t sat down with it until the battery ran out.
The R2-D2 version will be a fun change of design for it (if it makes it to distribution in the US), and we predict that a lot of people would want to get their hands on it just out of fanfare and nostalgia value.
We may have to sit down with it in the future if we ever get the opportunity. This way we can give it a long-term study to see if our opinion changes. Maybe we may find that the battery lasts much longer and though time you adjust to it and can type faster as you go. Until then, we decided to give it a 5/10 score. It’s a fun gadget, and works well, but also feels like a “look what I can do” kind of trophy that may not last too long before you find something else to distract yourself with.
Are you a manufacturer or vendor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.