Is Bone Conduction the best way to type in VR?

Is Bone Conduction the best way to type in VR?

A group of researchers from the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zürich, Switzerland have developed a new way to type in VR. They call the new technology TapID.

It is a set of wristbands that, when used in conjunction with hand tracking, will allow you to feel like you are typing on a real keyboard in VR. The TapID system is worn on each of your wrists. Each wristband has two accelerometer sensors built into the flexible strap. They measure the bone conduction of your fingers hitting a hard flat surface and uses that to simulate the feeling of typing on a keyboard.

So far, the team behind TapID have shown off four different ways their new tech could be used in VR.

1. Typing- This is the most obvious, you can use the wristbands to improve your typing experience in VR. If you are a good touch typist, you could use a physical keyboard in VR but for most of use that still occasionally glance down to see where a key is, this would be a life saver.

2. Number Input- They showed off using five fingers on one hand to operate a numerical keyboard a calculator.

3. Play the piano- Without out lag or delay, you can play a virtual Piano that syncs the generated sound with the feeling of your fingertips hitting a flat surface. Having tried out virtual instruments, the biggest thing missing is the haptic feedback.

4. Image sorting- This is essentially the resizing, moving, and changing of photos using the wristbands and a flat surface.

The team behind TapID do not have any plans to sell the tech quite yet, so don’t expect it to be hitting store shelves this year. In reality, this sort of tech is always a year or two out from full release. I would expect to see this sort of wristband being advertised to the enterprise sector.

Author

Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

Andrew Boggs

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