Gadgets airbar

Published on August 16th, 2017 | by Greg


AirBar: Make Your Mac’s Screen Touch-Capable

Not everyone needs a touchscreen- and some companies, even those that use them in wildly popular devices, seem to think that they aren’t all that handy in certain other gear. We’re talking about Apple, specifically, whose fortunes have lately been built on mobile, touch-friendly products like the iPad and the iPhone. But their Macbooks have never included touchscreens, leaving the laptop field open for Microsoft’s Surface to offer something distinctive. And also leaving room for today’s company!

Neonode’s AirBar is simple- it’s a small bar that slides under your screen, plugs in via USB, and turns your laptop’s monitor into a touchscreen. We tested with a Macbook Air 13.3-inch model, though they offer make a variety of other options for Windows users as well. We liked that you can use gloves, or even things like pencils- thanks to infrared technology, it works almost as well as using a finger. And most any motion is recognized, from pinch/zoom, swipes to various sides, and of course taps and presses too. There are two magnets to help keep the AirBar in place, which worked pretty well, but do require you to stick magnets to your screen as well.

You don’t need to download additional software or drivers for basic use, so you can plug-and-play if you want. For multi-touch support, extra drivers are required, but installed in moments. We tried it out in a variety of apps, and for artists, it can be quite handy- allowing you to brush and pencil with relative ease- if less pixel-perfect recision than you may want. Similarly, we noticed fairly occasional issues with the AirBar seeming to see some ghost input and taking unintended actions. You also need to use the USB port on the right-hand side, which wasn’t an issue for us but may be for those with specific setups.

The AirBar is sleek, and couldn’t be easier to use, plus it adds a nice bit of flexibility for those with handicaps or even just for kids who want to play. You might wonder about closing your laptop while the AirBar is inside- and in fact, you do need to remove it. But it will remind you! If you’ve ever wanted your MacBook Air to have a touchscreen, now it can- without a lot of fuss, and without hurting your battery life noticeably. Expect to spend around $99 for the Neonode AirBar, online and in stores now.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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