2008-06-07

I foresee ergonomics issues

My first idea when I got the opportunity to work with the VPL DataGlove was to create a virtual keyboard. My plan was that it should be able to edit all aspects of the keyboard layout—the precise keys, where they were located in space and to have nifty functions to edit the layout so that one didn't necessarily have to lay out each key individually. To my disappointment the position sensors on the glove had neither the resolution nor speed necessary for typing, nor did the software handle collision detection well for so many objects, so when I realised that even a numerical keypad would require keys several centimetres across that could be pressed only once every few seconds or so, I gave up the idea.

Now I'm sorely tempted by the Virtual Laser Keyboard. Just the thing—a perfectly “soft” keyboard with optical tracking and wireless connection to your computer/PDA/mobile phone. Unfortunately the specs only say state that it has a QWERTY layout, so the risk is that the keyboard layout is locked in ROM, rather than being configurable, which would be a pity.

Then of course, there is the issue of typing on an unyielding surface, which brings down speed and accuracy, but I still could imagine trying it out.

5 comments:

Martin said...

I foresee that as you type, you will look like Manne the Clown, speaking sign language.

kai said...

I raise you Manne's stern father:
“Don't talk to the table! Sit up straight and look at me!”

Martin said...

Isn't that the father of Lost in da Pancake?

kai said...

Hmm, maybe all these fixtures of our childhood indeed come from one and the same dysfunctional family..?

guy incognito said...

Crotch computing is better than lasers:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brucesterling/2560516299/in/photostream/

But the ergonomics might still be a problem.