Google Glass may feature laser-projected virtual keyboard

Google's Project Glass may feature laser-projected virtual keyboard
A projector and camera combine to form a virtual keyboard

Google's Project Glass AR specs could be fitted with a laser-projected virtual keyboard, which would allow users to input information by tapping their arm or hand.

In a patent filing published this week, Google explained how a virtual keyboard could be used to control the Augmented Reality glasses, expected to go public in 2014.

Within the patent, entitled "Methods and Systems for a Virtual Input Device," Google said that the camera and a projector could be used in tandem to facilitate data input on any surface, not just the user's hand.

In the example given, the tiny projector would sit on the arm of the glasses, while the device's camera would be used to interpret the finger strokes and relay that information back to the CPU.

Virtual input device

The filing, initially made in June last year, reads: "In one example, the virtual input device includes a projector and a camera. The projector projects a pattern onto a surface.

"The camera captures images that can be interpreted by a processor to determine actions. The projector may be mounted on an arm of a pair of eyeglasses and the camera may be mounted on an opposite arm of the eyeglasses.

"A pattern for a virtual input device can be projected onto a 'display hand' of a user, and the camera may be able to detect when the user uses an opposite hand to select items of the virtual input device."

The filing also shows how various types of virtual keyboard could be projected onto the surface. In certain circumstances, a full QWERTY keyboard would be employed, while a numeric keypad appears in others.

As neat as the feature may sound, it's by no means a dead cert to appear within the AR specs. Google is known to be experimenting with all kinds of solutions, for its long-awaited wearable computer.


Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.