Contact-free virtual keyboard targets AR

August 23, 2016 // By Julien Happich
At the International Modern Hospital Show which took place in Tokyo last July, NEC Corporation was exhibiting the ARmKeypad Air, a video processing-based solution that creates interactive keyboards out of thin air (and the smart glasses computing resources).

In November last year, the company had introduced ARmKeypad, where a modified watch could turn the arm of a wearer into a virtual keyboard by detecting touch through vibrations. But the new version is a pure software-based solution, relying entirely upon the camera and video-processing capability of whatever head-mounted Augmented Reality (AR) display being worn.

The smart glasses' camera feed is processed to track the wearer's fingers and gestures, to allow the projection of a virtual keyboard on the forearm for contact-free operation.

In its brochures, NEC clearly aims the virtual keyboard at health professionals who must perform clinical or healthcare procedures in sterile environments. Here the virtual keyboard frees them from direct contact with objects and clothes.

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