Airbar is a lightweight, USB-connectable bar that gives touchscreen functionality to any laptop screen. In the market for laptops with desktop operating systems, there is one thing clear. The interfaces are not intended to be tactile and therefore do not work well being natively used as such. On the other hand, it is true that with its Metro or Modern UI interface, Microsoft has been since Windows Phone 7 trying to unify its interfaces, something that in Windows 8 reached its peak replacing the start menu with the famous Tiles mode. Windows 10 has strayed a bit from that path, and many laptops don’t include a touchscreen.
However, following Microsoft’s design lines, many developers do develop applications that could be used comfortably by tapping instead of clicking. To provide any laptop with such functionality, Neonode has launched Airbar, a bar with a similar appearance to the movement sensor of the Nintendo Wii that is placed at the bottom of the screen and connects to one of the side USB ports.
Once connected, the operation that Airbar offers on the screen is the same as it would be executed on, for example, Microsoft’s Surface, that is, not only tap on the icon but make gestures from the sides, enlarge photographs by doing the classic pincer gesture or simply scroll.
Beyond that it works, the most curious thing about Airbar is how it manages to detect the movement of the fingers: it generates an invisible light field that actively detects any movement, as in other cases it has been done using infrared. This means that, as the company advertises, it does not matter if we use a bare, wet or gloved hand. As long as there is movement, it will be captured and transmitted to the system without latency.
Without a doubt, Airbar is an ingenious solution to give the game to the screen of a computer, but the shape of the notebooks is not optimal to keep the arm raised for a long time. Although it works with macOS, the company only recommends using it on Windows 8, Windows 10 and Chrome OS, systems more thought for touch operation. It can be booked in three sizes at a price of $ 69.