A VIRTUAL KEYBOARD that enables smartphone users to type on a physical surface without using external hardware has been developed by a student at Goldsmiths University, London.
Made for those that find their digits are too big and clumsy to use a touchscreen while texting or writing emails, the new system dubbed the Vibrative Virtual Keyboard replicates the experience of typing on a physical keyboard, turning a rigid surface like a desk or table into a virtual keyboard by analysing the vibrations emanated from typing.
The system was created by MSc Cognitive Computing student Florian Krautli on an Apple Iphone 4, and aims to eliminate "the frustration felt by smartphone users when faced with drafting lengthy emails or notes" on a small onscreen keyboard.
"Touchscreen devices, such as smartphones, lack a suitable method for text input which can compete with mechanical keyboards," Krautli said. "The keyboard requires no additional hardware as it taps into an Iphone's built-in accelerometer, which is able to measure the vibrations caused by typing on any hard surface."
The Vibrative Virtual Keyboard collects samples of all the keys on the virtual keyboard. When it later detects a keystroke, it compares the new data to the training data to approximately determine which key has been pressed.
Krautli admits that the software isn't capable of detecting keystrokes with accuracy greater than 80 percent. However, where errors occur the software will detect what the user intended to write based on the erroneous input by using a predictive spellchecking algorithm.
The Vibrative Virtual Keyboard is only in the early stages of development, although Krautli is presently looking for investors for the software, which he said could easily be applied to other smartphones and mobile operating systems such as Android. µ