Samsung has patented a new type of smartwatch keyboard, which projects the keys onto the wearer’s hand.
Inputting text into smartwatches is a problem that’s yet to be addressed, and until manufacturers can find a way to overcome the problem, smartwatches are destined to be slaves to our smartphones.
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Samsung’s patent, which was only filed on May 5, describes the use of a projector, camera and processor to not only project the image of a keyboard onto the user’s hand, but detect which buttons are pressed.
Not only will it project a static keyboard, but the patent indicates that it will also be able to detect gestures. This means that users will be able to draw letters, essentially writing out letters or commands on the back of the hand.
It will also work for apps, with the patent showing the ability to control maps by using an enlarged control system on the hand, rather than pinching and zooming on a tiny 1-inch screen.
And Samsung doesn’t see this system being limited to smartwatches. The patent shows a similar concept for VR systems, where projected keyboards appear in the virtual world, which you press with your outstretched arm, tracked by the camera. Perhaps it could make an appearance on Samsung’s rumoured dedicated VR headset.
Of course, this isn’t the first experiment to make smartwatch keyboards viable. The TouchOne keyboard used the old T9 method of predictive text, while NEC’s ARmKeypad took an approach more like Samsung’s, which used AR glasses to project an arm mounted keyboard for factory workers.