Virtual keyboards have tried to make a jump into the tech industry years ago by using laser projection keyboards. Unfortunately, they were not ready for real-world use as they were just too slow and unreliable overall. However, unveiled at CES 2020, Samsung introduced its new virtual keyboard powered by artificial intelligence and image recognition technology. Entitled “SelfieType”, this new software does not simply project an actual rendering of a keyboard, but rather, it uses a smartphone’s or tablet’s selfie camera to determine what the user is typing in conjunction with its AI power and specialized image recognition technology by analyzing user’s finger movements.
How it Works:
Samsung’s SelfieType is aiming to change the entire scope of user accessibility. Although deemed a virtual keyboard, SelfieType is invisible, works in real-time, and has numerous benefits. How it works is the technology maps the user’s finger joints and renders finger movements into keystrokes. The user has to position their device with the selfie camera facing their hands and ensure they are using a relatively flat surface. With those steps complete, the user will be able to begin typing using the invisible keyboard.
As smartphones and tablets get more powerful and physically bigger, they have begun to be a staple for many users when it comes to the ease of writing quick emails and editing large documents. With the implementation of SelfieType, it removes the inconveniences of having a small on-screen keyboard, which arguably can be difficult to use at times. It eliminates the need to carry an additional piece of hardware such as an attachable keyboard or even possessing a laptop at all. It also addresses serious accessibility concerns should users require a bigger screen since many smartphones and tablets are capable of connecting to monitors or TVs. With all these benefits, SelfieType could eradicate the need for computers to simply exist at all.
Given that SelfieType is a new concept, it may be difficult to use and come with many bugs. Users who type in a different matter such as using only their index fingers may have trouble being identified by SelfieType as it’s only compatible with touch typing (so far). As SelfieType is invisible, users would also have to memorize where the keyboard is and how far they would have to extend their fingers to reach a certain key. This will prove difficult for novice users as the interface will have a learning curve going from using physical keyboards to a virtual one. Given this difficulty, many users may just abandon using SelfieType and opt to use their devices on-screen keyboard or buy a keyboard case.
As SelfieType is still in development, the software is not available to the public and may take a few years for it to release. Its developers are constantly testing SelfieType to make it practical for real-world use. With no plans to make users pay for SelfieType, Samsung plans to simply release it through a future software update. Potentially giving other phone and computer development companies a run of their money.