If you are really interested in Projection Keyboard and its socio-technical system, here are some resources you probably want to look at.

In this article, Andy Clark et al proposed a new concept concerning the information processing system outside the human brain. They proposed that language, carry-on notebook, even the waiter you trust who can give you opinions on choosing wines, can be the extended mind to our biological brain. This is highly useful in the age of computer and internet because it helps to consider agents as more active and creative agents in the world.

Computer-Human Interface using requires stored memories of symbols. Before the projection keyboard, people trust physical keyboard to be part of computers, rather than part of the human being’s extended mind. However, we believe that if the physical existence of keyboard does not exist anymore, the border of internal and external of cognition might be blurred. In times, we believe this kind of technology will not change the user’s interface habits, and further on broader the extended mind of humankind.


  • Song, P., Winkler, S., Gilani, S. O., & Zhou, Z. (2007). Vision-Based Projected Tabletop Interface for Finger Interactions. In Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 49–58). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-75773-3_6

This conference paper designed a vision-based interface that is projected and interacted on the tabletop using finger interactions. With the plain viewing, natural and intuitive interaction model, the system is both easy to learn and economic to set up. They also design a faster tracking algorithm to enable robust finger tracking.

This paper provides technical support for projection keyboard. It proves that projection keyboard is not only technologically doable but also socially acceptable and ready to be introduced to people’s lives. Gradually, interact with the projected interface will be a new technical common sense.


This news report was released very recently and it wrote about the market analysis on projection keyboard. It reports the major players, providers, products, and services in this field. It segmented the market of projection keyboard and forecast the future trend of this technology.

According to this report, we are happy to know that the global projection keyboard market is estimated to grow by the year of 2025. Which proves that this technology will continue to fulfill people’s lives and change people’s experience with projected interfaces.


This article discusses the projection keyboard’s future from the perspective of input and output. It indicated that the visual keyboard will change the development of the physical input methods such as the mice and the styles. Even though the development of the projection keyboard will be, to some extent, limited to the difficulty of tracking finger movement, the trend of affordance and realistic simulator controls will become the driving motivation of turning the physical to visual. The most severe problem that the projection keyboard faced is words input. The keyboard will not be replaced unless be rendered in something like the virtual table. Therefore, the appearance of projection keyboard might not look like a physical keyboard at all since the logic of word input might be changed. This kind of thinking is called “out of the box thinking”, it is something that changes “the physical laws of nature” and might lead people to the future visual world.


  • Tomasi, C., Rafii, A., & Torunoglu, I. (2003). Full-size projection keyboard for handheld devices. New York: ACM.10.1145/792704.792732

This paper illustrates the working principle of projection keyboard, especially the finger movement interaction with the sensor. Three factors should be taken into consideration in the process of tracking finger movement, they are the projection module, the finger lighting and sensing (illumination module), and the interpretation (sensor module). For the projection module, the module should be available to various surfaces and avoid lighting mask. For lots of traditional projection module, only 20% of the light entering a masking system arrived at the surface. For the lighting and sensing, the finger has two kinds of interaction with the infrared light, the first is interaction with the beam and the second is interaction with the touching surface. As for the interpretation, the finger movement can be really difficult to track and based on the algorithm of the sensor module, how to map the keyboard layout is quite important.


  • Roeber, H., Bacus, J., & Tomasi, C. (2003). Typing in thin air: The canesta projection keyboard – a new method of interaction with electronic devices. Paper presented at the 712-713. 10.1145/765891.765944

This article talked about the user’s experiment of Canesta Projection Keyboard. From the aspects of usability testing, data input, and user’s satisfaction, this article indicates that projection keyboard, in general, works much better in the aspects of input speed, comfort, and user’s satisfaction, even though the tactile might decrease user’s familiarity with the traditional way of typing. For the typing speed, “Canesta Keyboard users were able to input text approximately 1.7 times faster than on thumb keyboards and 3.3 times faster than using Graffiti. In turn, average text input on a mechanical keyboard was1.39 times faster than on the Canesta Keyboard.” One of the most interesting parts of this experiment is that users who look at the keyboard frequently report a higher level of user’s satisfaction and low error rates.


  • AlKassim, Z. (2012). Virtual laser keyboards: A giant leap towards human-computer interaction. Paper presented at the 1-5. 10.1109/ICCSII.2012.6454614

This article states that projection keyboard is designed to overcome many of the drawbacks of a traditional physical keyboard. These drawbacks include wear and tear when used for a long period, tendency to get destroyed with liquids, difficulty in carrying when traveling, utilization of large space area especially in public places and more. However, projection keyboard is very sensitive to its working environment, such as the source of the brightness whether natural (sun) or artificial(from a bulb), the color of the typing surface, smoothness of the typing surface, and so on. Unwanted results might occur in unsuitable environments. The article concludes projection keyboard might lead to a leap in HCI if a further enhancement is made.


This article puts projection keyboard in the continuum of different kinds of keyboards along the way of development, reviewing the history from typewriter to modern keyboard with projection keyboard briefly mentioned. Pace the technological determinism, the keyboard is where it is right now because of many social factors. For example, more efficient layouts of a keyboard have been proposed but we still use the QWERTY one, which was developed because it was the only way that typewriter engineers in the late 1800s could arrange the keys without the metal bars to which they were attached from grinding and mashing together. Within the same frame, we can make our own analysis on the social impact along the development of projection keyboard. The article admits the potential of projection keyboard but also points out its drawback on user experience which is why this technology has not prevailed yet.


This article is a review of an instance of projection keyboard. Projection keyboard is designed so that people can carry around and type with a pocket-size device instead of a big and unwieldy physical keyboard or inefficient virtual keyboard installed in our phones or tablets. However, using projection keyboard for convenience and efficiency can bring up unintended inconvenience and inefficiency. For example, users have to adjust the light conditions, connect it to computers and charge it regularly. Also, a flat surface for projection is not always easy to find, and the accuracy of typing with a projection keyboard is lower than that with a physical keyboard. These drawbacks can all be traced to the socio-technical system of this technology.


  • Huber, J. (2014). A research overview of mobile projected user interfaces. Informatik-Spektrum, 37(5), 464-473.

This is a review of mobile projected user interfaces with different affordances. The article divides projected user interfaces into three categories: Nomadic Projection Interface, Handheld Projection Interface, and Tangible Projection Interface. Projection keyboard is a hybrid of the first and third kind. The challenges that are brought up in the conclusion part of this article can also apply to projection keyboard, which includes strengthening the sensor module to improve the accuracy of interaction, dealing with non-planar projection surface and integrating alternative feedback modality. These aspects can be the direction for future development of projection keyboard.

Bonus if you are techy enough! An article on how to make a projection keyboard on your own.