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There May Be a Way to Use Your Keyboard in VR

November 3, 2017

Covering your eyes with a virtual-reality headset has its downsides—chief among them, perhaps, inability to see the real world. For many people, that makes the prospect of typing on a physical keyboard pretty tough. And even if you touch-type, heaven help you finding the keyboard again if you ever take your hands away from the keys to do something else.

Sure, you can use augmented reality instead, but that technology still isn’t great for regular work. Now, though, peripherals maker Logitech thinks it may have a solution. The Verge reports it has built a prototype system that will render your keyboard—in the correct physical position relative to your body—in virtual space.

The system uses a Vive Tracker, a little widget that connects to a physical item and allows an HTC Vive VR headset to track it, and some custom software to mirror its Logitech G keyboard in virtual space. Logitech explains how it works:

This software ... presents the user with an overlaid virtual representation of their keyboard in any VR application, complete with animations when keys are pressed … It also affords the opportunity to skin the keyboard in a variety of ways ... [and] for a true typing experience you [can also] see your hands [using the Vive’s existing tracking technology].

Which all sounds neat! Less neat is that the prototype will only be offered to 50 developers for now, and the kit will run $250. But then, if you’re spending a couple of thousand dollars on a high-powered VR rig, maybe that’s not too much of a deal breaker.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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