Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Figure 12.29 Canesta virtual keyboard system
Virtual keyboard
This idea involves displaying a virtual keyboard in the scene with the help of an immer-
sion device. The user can interact with the keyboard either with the help of data gloves
(the system detects the position of fingers in relation to each virtual keyboard key to
know which one is pressed), or with the help of the laser ray metaphor (for exam-
ple when the laser intersects a key, the system determines the associated symbol and
retrieves it for display). In 2002, Canesta marketed a rather unusual virtual keyboard.
This start-up in fact developed a system that uses a mini-laser the size of a coffee grain
for projecting the image of a keyboard at a distance of 50 cm, with an angle of 50
degrees on a plane surface. The keyboard image measures 28 cm in length and around
10 cm in width, i.e. equivalent to detachable keyboards marketed nowadays for PDAs.
An integrated micro-camera then determines the keys typed by the user. Figure 12.29
shows this keyboard in operation.
Another virtual keyboard, the Senseboard, is based on the same concept as the
previous one: in principle, any flat surface can be used as a keyboard. However, rather
than following the movements of the fingers, this peripheral records the muscular
variations with the help of pressure sensors on the top of and in the palm of each hand.
Less precise than the previous system (it can be calibrated for increasing precision), it
does not require the same computing power, since the sensors directly make changes
in pressure on the surface of the skin (Figure 12.30).
For simulating a virtual keyboard, data gloves can also be used, such as for exam-
ple Fakespace's Pinch Gloves™. These are above all control gloves on which the contact
between the fingers is detected. Each glove can thus be used for a list of possible con-
trols. Bowman and his colleagues (2001) use these gloves for simulating a QWERTY
keyboard. The virtual keyboard is displayed on the screen in the form of an alphabet
arranged in a table. Each finger allows a change of column, and moving the hands
closer to the body allows a change of line. Finally, each rotation of the wrist validates
the selected letter.
Manuscript writing or pseudo-manuscript
Manuscript writing, based on using a pencil, a pen or a brush (Chinese calligraphy,
for example) is on the decline compared to using a keyboard. The latter is the medium
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