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Stuck with a dumb display? AirBar Brings Touch Functionality to Any PC Screen

Touch-screen capabilities are widely appealing, but they still don’t come included with most laptop computers available today. A company called Neonode has come up with AirBar, a gadget that will bring touch-screen functionality to any PC. Without any heavy duty hardware adjustments or a single software update, AirBar could theoretically turn any computer screen into a fully responsive touch screen.

AirBar covers your dumb display with a blanket of invisible light that allows you to interact with the screen through touch. The discreet bezel bar sits below your PC display, and is ready to use as soon as you plug it into the USB port. AirBar recognizes the gestures you’re used to on other devices, like pinch, swipe, zoom, and scroll functions. And because the “touch” interactions are triggered by anything that crosses AirBar’s light field, you don’t have to use your fingers. You’ll be able to use AirBar with the most slippery gloves or even heavy work gloves, paint brushes, pencils, or anything you have nearby — no stylus required. As long as you cross the light field, AirBar will register “touch” gestures.

Related: Why touch screens are killing the center console command wheel

At its initial launch, AirBar will be adaptable for a limited number of machines. It will work with any Windows 7, 8, or 10 computer that has a 15.6 inch display, which narrows down the playing field considerably. Neonode says they are working on a Mac-integrated option for the future. And as long as they can pack in the technology, AirBar should be able to adjust for a variety of screen sizes.

AirBar will officially debut at CES in Las Vegas next month, but you can pre-order one of your own online. The 15.6 inch launch version costs $49 and is expected to launch in early 2016. Once Neonode expands the AirBar line to other sizes and computer platforms, any computer will be able to benefit from touch-screen capabilities without draining battery or compromising screen quality.