As an IT professional, I spend 8 to 12 hours a day, sometimes even more, in front of my two 24 inches monitors and my Rapoo mouse and keyboard. I got so used to this setup that I could use it with my eyes closed if needed.
Even though I never watch my keyboard while I’m typing, even though I use so many shortcut keys that in most windows I don’t even need the mouse anymore I started to think if the interaction with the keyboard couldn’t be more natural, more portable or even more efficient. Having this is mind, here is what I propose. (This is just a design exercise, it could be put in practice by a team of engineers with different particular skills – however I do not have all of them together yet)
Inspired by the Kinect for Xbox functions and knowing that projections can easily be made on different surfaces – was thinking to combine the 2 in a small device that would simply project the keyboard onto a flat surface. Here is how I imagine it:
It could be integrated in the monitor, or in the laptop case, eliminating the need to use a keyboard or mouse. The projection could be made either on the desk or on a special surface, but instead of providing a keyboard with individual keys, it would be more similar with a mobile phone keyboard.
How would this work?
I’m sure the Kinect inspired device – which I’m calling Projector, could be calibrated to know the position of any of my fingers. Based on where I tap them – it will know which keyboard I’ve wanted to press and would ensure the text editing for me.
Also, the Projector – would project on a flat surface (could be curbed too, that’s less important) the keys delimitation with white / yellow / red /blue / phosphorescent color enabling the user to know where the position of each key is.
Contains main keys – as a regular keyboard. Supposing that the Projector knows the position of each finger and its movement – typing can be made.
- Show current application on the screen in a box with its name, by swiping left or right you could navigate through the different applications you are currently running
- Show current tab in the same way as above and enable you to change between the browser tabs in the same way
Since holograms are not easy to be projected yet, this is only an imaginary delimitated space for now. For further usage – it could integrate projections of 3d objects that could be twisted on each and any part of them
Currently – using only an imaginary space above Section 3, by moving the fingers in the air you could:
- Swipe between different opened applications
- Size a specific window using (Thumb and Index fingers), rotate it or move its place on the displays
- Drag and drop using Thumb, Index and Middle fingers
Section 4 – Mouse function
- Index finger – ensures the mouse
- Thumb finger – ensures the left click
- Middle finger – ensure the right click
- Index finger and Middle finger pressed together – ensure the scroll
- Getting Thumb, Index and Middle fingers together will ensure drag and drop (close all fingers together select and move, expanding fingers – paste)
- Closing all fingers in the fist and using Thumb and Index to select text, and copy/paste the selection in a different place
Section 5 – Y axes above section 4
- Mouse representation in biplane coordinates but using the Y axe (by moving the Index finger in the air you move the pointer of the mouse on your screen)
- By contracting Thumb Finger and Middle finger – same functions as above (left click and right click) will be ensured.
- By bringing Thumb, Index and Middle fingers together – drag and drop will be realized as described above
- By closing all fingers in the fist and using Thumb and Index select, copy, paste of text could be realized
Special setup function:
- Establish the dimension of the projection of the flat surface (could be enlarged or made smaller as the zoom on a photo is made)
- Establish the dimensions of other work spaces
I don’t think I’m proposing something too new. This concepts have been adapted for mobile phones or touch screens, I’m only trying to imagine using them in a different way. Might require deep investigations of each functions in order to make it easy to work with and most important as functional as possible.
Could be integrated with voice command, if OS for the laptop starts to support that too.
Let me know your thoughts about it in the comments.
PS: Searching for an image to represent the projection of a keyboard, I saw that the base function I’ve imagined is already built on a device: Images of products I didn’t know about this when I wrote the post. Still, the functions I’ve imagined go a bit further that what the built devices can do for now. Don’t you agree?
The image was created on: