High-resolution front-facing cameras on smartphones, commonly referred to as Selfie Cameras, will soon allow users to type. Samsung is expected to unveil an innovative new technology that turns any selfie camera into a virtual keyboard. The new technology, referred to as ‘SelfieType’, is to be unveiled at CES 2020. It is not clear how Samsung will utilize the front-facing camera or cameras to project a virtual keyboard but there are a few possibilities.
Standalone USB OTG Projection Keyboards are not new. These laser-based virtual keyboards allow any flat surface to be used as a keyboard with projected alphabets and numbers. However, despite their seemingly futuristic approach, the majority of smartphone users prefer the virtual keyboards within the portable communication devices even for lengthier textual compositions like SMS, WhatsApp, and emails. Now Samsung is attempting to introduce a significant variation in the Virtual Projection Keyboard. The Korean tech giant has developed an innovative technology that uses a smartphone’s front-facing cameras.
How Does Samsung SelfieType Camera-Based Virtual Projection Keyboard Work?
Samsung merely presented the name of the futuristic concept that relies on the Selfie Cameras to offer the ease of typing on a virtual surface. The company hasn’t offered details about the same. However, Samsung did indicate that the front-facing cameras won’t be working independently. In addition to the Selfie Camera array, SelfieType will extensively rely on Artificial Intelligence, and most probably Machine Learning Algorithms, to recognize the position of the fingers in front of the smartphone and register input.
Essentially, the Samsung SelfieType “virtual keyboard” should be implemented using Artificial Intelligence and the front camera working together to guess the input accurately. Traditional Projection Keyboards may offer virtual keys that are projected on any flat surface, but the user does get a clear idea about the layout owing to the laser projected keys.
Samsung to show off keyboard powered by selfie camera at CES 2020 https://t.co/85yBykpTzx
— Android Authority (@AndroidAuth) December 30, 2019
Samsung’s SelfieType system doesn’t have any laser projection, and hence the users will be essentially typing without any visual indication. Simply put, it would be hard for the user to know where to put their fingers, and it will be hard for the software as well to track the input.
However, the standard QWERTY keyboard has been prevalent on smartphones for a very long time. Regular users are quite familiar with the standard layout and often type without ever looking at the virtual keyboard. Additionally, the AutoCorrect feature, as well as AutoComplete or Auto Suggestion feature on smartphones, has been getting exceptionally good at predicting the next word that the user will type. User familiarity combined with AI-based tracking should offer a fair degree of accuracy. Moreover, users could gradually teach the Samsung SelfieType system to recognize the way they type.
Samsung SelfieType Front Camera-Based Virtual Projection Keyboard To Be Adapted For Tablets And Laptops As Well:
The SelfieType project is a part of Samsung’s C-Lab incubator which incubates a number of experiments and prototypes that don’t have a definitive market or launch date. In other words, Samsung regularly nurtures longshot products that may or may not make it to production or commercial deployment.
The SelfieType project appears to be a longshot, but CES 2020 is just a week away. Moreover, Samsung has promised that SelfieType can be adapted for various form factors. In other words, Samsung could deploy the technology in tablets and laptops as well. While the primary prerequisite is wide-angle optics, which are common in smartphones today, the tablets and laptops do have a lot more room for more advanced hardware that improves accuracy, and perhaps offer visual guidance as well.
In addition to the SelfieType project, Samsung is also expected to unveil a kind of highlighter that digitizes the marked texts and makes them accessible on a smartphone or PC, a device for analyzing hair problems, an “artificial window” that is supposed to deliver “sunlight” in closed rooms, and a new sensor embedded within a wristband that will monitor the wearer’s exposure to ultraviolet light, and presumably warn about overexposure.