iPhone

Future iPhone concept: Laser keyboard and holographic display

Could the iPhone emerge as a PC replacement by using a holographic display and laser keyboard? See a compelling concept of that idea from Aatma Studio.

One of the best ways to know your platform has made it is when you see users start injecting their own creativity into it. Obviously, the most common indicator is when lots of programmers start developing apps and add-ons. But, the other big thing to watch is feedback from users on how they see the future trajectory of the product.

Although there's not really a question that the Apple iPhone has made it as a platform, some of the passion and high expectations for future development of the product were on full display recently as a 3D animation company called Aatma Studio created what it refers to as a concept design for iPhone 5.

While the concepts that Aatma shows off in its one-minute video are definitely not going to show up in the iPhone 5 -- which is expected to launch in October -- there are some compelling ideas that could show up in the iPhone and other smartphones within the next 3-5 years.

The most interesting stuff that Aatma explores are the ideas of a holographic display projected into the air from the iPhone and a laser keyboard projected on to a table top from the iPhone. Interestingly enough, the video shows theses two ideas separately, but if you put them together then you can see where the smartphone becomes a full PC replacement (a concept I've been talking about again recently).

Aatma CEO Pramod Modi Shantharam said, "We at Aatma are massive fans of the iPhone and are eagerly awaiting the release of iPhone 5. Meanwhile, going by the buzz the iPhone 5 is generating, we felt it's a good time to launch a concept such as this, and showcase our vision of key features of an iPhone 5 or subsequent models could have in the future."

Who knows if Apple will pick up on these ideas, but if they don't then other smartphone makers certainly might.

Here's the video:

What do you think? Would want to use a smartphone with a holographic display and projected keyboard? Could the ergonomics work? Can you holographic experts out there chime in and tell us how possible this would be and what the timeframe might look like?

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

34 comments
joncowden
joncowden

Old idea with a new flashy 3d video.... Anyone who has half a brain cell for technology already though this up for the iPhone after having one in one's hands. These are the most common "wants" for any smartphone. The race is on the see who delivers first. My hypothesis is that they will rule the market shares, and will successfully implement the first pc/smartphone/pda fusion... Doubt it is Apple. They are too focused on trying to drive Thunderbolt to enterprises... I guess is that MS will have this technology first... As they have already successfully implemented it into their current OS(touch tech).

rpollard
rpollard

An input mechanism that knows what you're thinking and a projection system that connects directly to the brain.

Murphy Chan
Murphy Chan

However that would be an overkill for the battery, but I'm sure Apple is going to find a way to overcome this :)

WoodyM
WoodyM

Having a laser keyboard would make texting and driving a bit difficult. I sure a teenager will figure out how to overcome the problem.

JJFitz
JJFitz

you can shave with it. or at least slice a pizza with it :)

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

... that I would REALLY like to see an iPhone perform, is one where it completely DISAPPEARS!

Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182
Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182

There have been a number of tests on using brain wave sensors (Think EEG) to provide an input source for a computer. It requires some training, but so does a keyboard. Sounds wild, but how long has it been since a cell phone was just a nebulous concept? Personal computers have been around less than 40 years, and look at how they've evolved. This iPhone concept won't happen tomorrow, or even next week. But the week after next? Who knows?

stevedominguez
stevedominguez

A study on the use of laser keyboards with regard to typing speed (Wang & Hedge, A Usability Evaluation of a Laser Projection Virtual Keyboard, 2008) showed that the average typing speed on fixed keyboards was 41.07wpm and the laser keyboards was 15.91wpm. Also, error rates were higher on the laser keyboard (10.23% VKB vs 4.09% FKB). Ergonomically, the use of a laser keyboard is flawed. One has to individually perform key presses while completely removing the previous fingers out of the laser detection field in situations where keys are depressed from the upper row of letters to the lower rows of letters, eg. (problem combinations capitalised) EXit, WArnED, OLd, UMbrella, etc. This can not only create a situation where one is attempting to type without resting their wrists on the surface immediately behind the keyboard (may have implications on the forearm flexor muscles at the elbow) but may also cause wrist dysfunction due to the extensive use of the finger extensor muscles in order to keep them out of the laser sensitive zone (similar to the way a piano player would strike the keys in a 'staccato' manner).

mmartischang
mmartischang

... and so where do we dispose of the spent 12-month continuous plutonium power supply wafers?

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

When I heard about the bluetooth laser keyboard at thinkgeek.com I imediately wanted to pair it with a pocket projector and an Android. You can do this with 3 devices and some surfaces today. The bluetooth laser keyboard works and a pocket projector can be plugged in to my phone via it's hdmi port. If one device had all of these things built in it would be cool but it would be bulky. It would have to be a tablet, not a phone, at first. The device would have to stand up to project the keyboard on the table and the screen on the wall. It could turn any desk touching the wall in to a workstation.

wompai
wompai

I don't care about this ultra thin design; just give me a powerful system with a lot of processing power. The laser keyboard and holographic screen would be nice, but then your again going to the PC way of using it.

escale
escale

The keyboard is already a reality for the PC, is just matter of adapting it to the phone. The display definitely not even close. Current technology still needs something to project the image on so I think we are at least 10-20 year behind the holographic-on-the-air solution. But the video is very cool!!

GrantRowson
GrantRowson

I remember that somebody (can't remember company name) had an accessory for Palm's handheld PDAs that could do this -- a projected bigger screen image, and a laser surface keyboard to facilitate data entry. Concept worked great with flat surfaces in low-light environments. Gadget folded up to the size of a large pen (easily portable). Would definitely help out iphone/ipad touch.

d_baron
d_baron

I think the display, like many of the 3-D "innovations," would simply give one a headache. The keyboard, on the other hand, might go! One of course, needs clean space by the phone or tablet to use it (so why not just have a bluetooth keyboard in that space?--one less gadget to carry around!). The fake-keyboards are the weak spot of especially the smaller devices (Samsung Galaxy 4" is a lot easier to use then the LG 3.2 inch--same size as iphones). A low-tech display extender to go with the laser keyboard? Remember those Fresnel "lenses?" See a larger screen image farther from one's face. Effective resolution would not be worse than those no-glasses 3D headachers.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Concepts shown in that video do not represent any sort of reality. 1) Ultra Thin Design...highly unlikely: You have to have a place for the battery, so a phone as thin as it is in the video is out (unless Apple finds a way for an iPhone to run on CR-22s) 2) Laser Keyboard...not probable: Laser keyboards have to be projected from above to work. Unless you want to have a bulky extension to your iPhone, it's not likely it will happen. 3) Holographic display...not even feasible A holographic display looks like it would be fun, but then again, it's not feasible...a projector needs something physical to bounce light off of, else it will not show up. Current holographic displays are produced by the display bouncing off of a series of mirrors so that it appears to be displayed in midair. Such is not the case on an iPhone, even if it were to bounce off of internal mirrors. The only projected video you would see in midair would be...nothing.

brianw1975
brianw1975

the only problem is privacy -- use in public would be moronic for personal business, and very limiting if only used for general browsing since most intelligent people prefer privacy over convenience -- i mean, really, do you want to do your online banking at Starbucks projected up in a holographic display for everyone to see?

ymannix
ymannix

exceptional idea a business / consumer must have. The vision is where is should be and setting standards across the board

neoxis
neoxis

whoever has both would. The real question is when and how much? People these days tend to wait for the cost of one product to go down, since a new product can only provide new ways to help/interact with the consumers. Unless the developers announce it like 2-5 years before the release, then only the "rich" would be able to afford it.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Someone at our think tank is working on headsets for gamers; I predict the military will confiscate the technology for their own. (national security I suppose :( )

rpollard
rpollard

Completely useless comment. Nothing wrong with an iPhone since if it wasn't for the iPhone the others wouldn't be here. And you wouldn't be wanting it to disappear since you wouldn't have whatever you do, that you think is superior to it.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Try dummming your fingers on a table top for, say, 5 minutes. Does that feel like a good way to spend your day on a "keyboard"?

JJFitz
JJFitz

in some poor unfortunate third world country. :(

rpollard
rpollard

MIT has demostrated displays that use air to bounce off of. So, yes, that technology is feasible and you don't have to use mirrors to do it.

rpollard
rpollard

You obviously aren't up on current events. MIT has demostrated displays that use air to bounce off of. So, yes, that technology is feasible and you don't have to use mirrors to do it.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Your thinking is locked tightly in a box of your own design. 1. Things get smaller every day. 2. The laser keyboard exists and it is 3in. tall, much smaller than most phones. Look it up. It does not project straight down but at an angle. The phone would have to stand up but it's not that big of a stretch. 3. A similar effect can be done today with a pocket projector. As for a true mid air hologram it's called a Static Volume display: "A technique uses a focused pulsed infrared laser (about 100 pulses per second; each lasting a nanosecond) to create balls of glowing plasma at the focal point in normal air. The focal point is directed by two moving mirrors and a sliding lens, allowing it to draw shapes in the air. Each pulse creates a popping sound, so the device crackles as it runs. Currently it can generate dots anywhere within a cubic metre."

blackepyon01
blackepyon01

Transparent screens that are visible from both sides are only good in sci-fi where you have an audience who needs to see your face and screen at the same time.

gremlincomputers
gremlincomputers

The IPhone started nothing but the apps most of the other features were already available in other phones the only thing the IPhone got the lead on was the downloadable apps which

neoxis
neoxis

how would u feel if we dump some trash in your room, huh?

rpollard
rpollard

Who had the interface before Apple? From what I can tell, they were the first to offer gestures when navigating. And, a single mechanical button where the rest of it is software driven. Anybody do that before Apple?

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