Virtual keyboard targets hospital AR

Article By : Julien Happich

NEC has demonstrated a video processing-based solution that creates interactive keyboards out of thin air... Well, smart glass computing resources are required.

At the International Modern Hospital Show, Tokyo, NEC Corp. showed off the ARmKeypad Air, a video processing-based solution that creates interactive keyboards using smart glass computing resources.

In November last year, the company had introduced ARmKeypad, where a modified watch could turn the arm of a wearer into a virtual keyboard by detecting touch through vibrations. But the new version is a pure software-based solution, relying entirely upon the camera and video-processing capability of whatever head-mounted Augmented Reality (AR) display being worn.

[NEC ArmKeypad 1]
Figure 1: A block diagram of the user interface concept NEC has in mind.

The smart glasses' camera feed is processed to track the wearer's fingers and gestures, to allow the projection of a virtual keyboard on the forearm for contact-free operation.

In its brochures, NEC clearly aims the virtual keyboard at health professionals who must perform clinical or healthcare procedures in sterile environments. Here the virtual keyboard frees them from direct contact with objects and clothes.

[NEC ArmKeypad 2]
Figure 2: Various use cases of the ARmKeypad Air in a modern hospital.

This article was first published on EE Times Europe.

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