NEC Announces Smartglasses-Based Virtual Keyboard System

NEC Corporation has announced a new system that uses smartglasses to project a virtual keyboard on a user’s arm.

NEC Announces Smartglasses-Based Virtual Keyboard System

Called the ARmKeypad Air, it’s a modification of the ARmKeypad unveiled last autumn. That system also used smartglasses to project a virtual keyboard on a user’s arm, but it relied on a smartwatch to detect vibrations from the user’s finger as she tapped her arm to interact with the interface. The new version of the system is contactless—there is no need for a smartwatch, as the smartglasses can detect interaction without the need for physical contact against the arm.

In a statement announcing the new system, NEC highlighted its utility in sterilized settings. The system will be used “to help improve workplace efficiency in sectors where hands-free operation is required, such as manufacturing, medicine, security, and distribution,” explained NEC System Integration & Services Market Development Division AGM Yukio Maruyama.

The system is similar to one developed by Samsung, which uses smartglasses equipped with dual cameras to enable virtual keyboards via 3D-mapped ‘augmented reality’, though that concept appeared geared more toward consumer applications. With developers looking for new user interfaces to cope with the emerging Internet of Things, we may soon see more such virtual keyboard technologies emerging in the near future.