Maybe someday the sound of people drumming their fingers on a desk will mean they are hard at work. Why? Well, Apple has a new patent for a laser keyboard and proximity sensor that could project your keyboard from your device (the illustrations show a tablet, but why not an iMac?). Not only that there are sensors so it could tell the difference between someone passing by and sitting down in front of it.
It’s not like this is impossible. I saw functional laser/light-based keyboards 5 years ago and people have been perfecting and improving them since then. This patent is different because instead of having an additional device to project the keyboard, the system for projecting the keyboard would be built into the device itself.
As much as we’ve all gotten used to “key feel” for typing (especially touch typing), I don’t think it will take long for us to adapt to virtual key projected onto surfaces. Honestly I think I could adapt to the iOS virtual keyboard for typing if I could do something like use my iPad mini as the keyboard for my iPad. I like the the onscreen keyboard okay, it’s just not ideal for typing for a while (mostly the angle and amount of screen you can see).
Just because it’s not perfect now, doesn’t mean it won’t get better latter.