Virtual keyboards let texters create messages out of thin air

Scientists in Seoul have developed new technology which allows wearers of smart glasses to type text messages on virtual keyboards that pop up in their line of vision.

The K-Glass 3 smart glasses work using a stereo-vision camera, creating an effect similar to 3D sensing in human vision. Unlike Google Glass – which requires a touch panel and voice commands – the K-glass 3 is reinforced with augmented reality (AR), plus a low-power natural UI and UX processor, allowing typing and screen pointing on head-mounted displays (HMDs).

A demonstration video shows a K-Glass 3 wearer in the corner of the screen sitting at a desk and seemingly waving a finger in the air at nothing. However, on the big screen we see him scrolling through his email inbox, and opening individual messages. He then starts typing a text message on to a virtual typing keyboard seen only by him.

The AR used in the K-Glass 3 was first developed by Professor Hoi-Jun and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) back in 2014. A second version was then released in 2015, followed by the K-Glass 3 in February 2016.

Here’s the really technical part. The UI and UX processor used is made up of super-deep cores which allow real-time scene recognition within 33 milliseconds. A rendering engine then transforms this into a display that users can see when wearing the K-Glass 3.

The stereo-vision camera is located at the front of the glasses. It has two lenses, each offering a horizontal display replicating the depth perception of the human eye. Both lenses take photos of the same objects or scene, and then the camera combines them to reconstruct a 3D environment using the spatial depth information.

When the glasses don’t detect motion from users, they become idle – while continuing to run algorithms on minimal power that will help to improve its performance, notes.

Professor Yoo said, “We have succeeded in fabricating a low-power multi-core processer that consumes only 126.1 milliwatts of power with a high efficiency rate. It is essential to develop a smaller, lighter, and low-power processor if we want to incorporate the widespread use of smart glasses and wearable devices into everyday life.

“K-Glass 3′s more intuitive UI and convenient UX permit users to enjoy enhanced AR experiences such as a keyboard or a better, more responsive mouse.”

It’s not just texters who will be thrilled by this new technology; musicians will also get a kick out of it as musical keyboards are also able to be seen through the K-Glass 3.