Check Out This Invisible Virtual Keyboard
Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)
Although i have seen things like this before, this is something special. Usually technologies of these kind project a keyboard, by lasers or an image. However this one sense what you want to type without there being any keyboard whatsoever. Pretty cool, there’s more info below.
Tucked away in a corner of Fujitsu’s booth here in Barcelona’s Fira Gran Via was a gentleman typing out words onto a tablet via a keyboard for anyone who would watch him. It sounds like a completely mundane occurrence, except the keyboard he was typing on wasn’t actually there.
Here’s the idea: thanks to some clever software and the front-facing camera on a tablet, Fujitsu has worked up a way for users to type on just about any flat surface. The software is purely a prototype at this point, but it doesn’t need anything in the way of exotic gadgetry to work properly — it appeared to be running just fine on a generic Fujitsu Windows 8 tablet, albeit with a lamp of sorts to keep the user’s hands nice and bright.
Using the gesture keyboard seems so simple when you’re watching it live — a person calmly tapping on the surface of a table is actually typing out sentences — but the underlying tech is nothing to sneeze at. There’s some serious machine learning going on here, as the system gets a feel for the features and movements of a user’s hands to determine their placement on a keyboard that really isn’t there.
Sadly, that means there’s a fair amount of optimization that needs to happen before someone could actually start using it. The Japanese gentleman pecking out missives on top of a table was kind enough to let me try it anyway, and while the camera clearly noticed my hand it wouldn’t track any of my finger inputs.
Apparently, the software is capable of using skin color to figure who it should actually be accepting input from — at that moment the system was setup to only track his alabaster hands, so my brown mitts were promptly ignored. Certainly a bummer for me, but a still useful feature, especially since one can never tell how many alien hands they’ll encounter as they try to get some work done on the go.