CES 2017: 'AirBar' Gives MacBook Air Touchscreen Gestures Through Light-Sensing Technology

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After originally launching for PC laptops, Neonode has now announced the launch of its "AirBar" dongle for the 13-inch MacBook Air. AirBar is a magnetically-attached strip that connects to the MacBook via USB-A and allows users to interact with Apple's laptop through gestures and controls that mimic touchscreen-enabled computers.

Users don't have to download or install additional software to use the AirBar -- Neonode said that the device "instantly activates" when plugged into the MacBook. With the company's patented "zForce AIR technology," AirBar emits an invisible array of lights over the MacBook's screen, which senses touch and movement from fingers, gloves, and even paintbrushes. With it, users can gesture in front of the MacBook Air's screen to swipe, scroll, and pinch and zoom.

“We believe the community of devoted MacBook Air users will welcome this new product, as AirBar for MacBook Air will surely enhance the user-experience of an already great product,” said Remo Behdasht, Senior Vice President of AirBar Devices at Neonode. “Our goal for AirBar continues to be expanding its application to more devices, across even more markets.”

Because of the required bezel space below the MacBook screen (17mm specifically) and the need for USB-A, Neonode said that "at this point" AirBar is only being sold for the 13-inch MacBook Air.

AirBar for MacBook Air will come in brushed aluminum and cost $99 on Amazon when it launches sometime in early March. Pre-order notifications can be set up on Neonode's website. Currently, AirBar for 15.6-inch PC laptops costs $69, and the company plans to launch a new 14-inch PC version alongside the MacBook Air-compatible device.

Top Rated Comments

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47 months ago
I can't imagine a scenario where using this makes more sense than using a mouse. Also, USB? How about BT? Wired "air bar" seems like a silly purchase. Then again maybe I'm old and curmudgeony.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago
Basically moving trackpad gestures onto the screen, further out of reach, while blocking a USB port. Useless.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago

Must be useful to people who do art using computer.

I doubt it sadly. :( Artists tend to use accurate pressure sensitive styluses and graphics tablets like Wacoms.. Or even the iPad Pro + :apple:pencil. This is just a floaty faux multitouch, which doesn't really have the detail needed to beat even a cheap USB graphics tablet.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago
Macbook pro 15 2016 please
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago
Hmm... so they demonstrate their product by pinching to zoom into an image when there's already a Macbook trackpad right in front of them? :rolleyes:
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
47 months ago
Must be useful to people who do art using computer.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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