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Samsung Galaxy Glass Patent Plans To Turn Fingers Into a Keyboard

timothy posted about a year ago | from the this-and-google-glass-equals-full-societal-breakdown dept.

Input Devices 63

rjmarvin writes "Samsung looks to have found a way around voice commands for smart glasses by projecting an augmented reality keyboard onto users' hands. Galaxy Glass wearers' thumbs are used as input devices, tapping different areas of their fingers where various keys are virtually mapped. According to the August 2013 patent filing with the WIPO and South Korea's Intellectual Property Office, Samsung states that voice controls are too imprecise a technology, which are too heavily impacted by the noise levels of the surrounding environment."

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How about glass that doesn't break within 3 months (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#46423985)

I find typing on a flat surface doesn't work, as my fingers are curiously all of different lengths.

3 months? (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#46424071)

You must be a clumsy idiot and shouldn't own a phone. I have never broken a phone, and i normally keep them an average of 3 *years* before they are upgraded to new technology.

Tablets, same thing.

Re:3 months? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#46424257)

That's clumsy oaf, to you, nurb.

Samsung's Gorilla Glass is about 1/3 the thickness of the glass from an iPhone 4s (I have samples on my desk in front of me) While it's nice to have light weight and slim form factors, there's a lot to be said for glass which doesn't break easily. The aftermarket for fake Galaxy glass is considerable - which must mean I'm not the only clumsy oaf out there. My phone is now ensconced in an Otterbox Defender as having it all it one piece is preferable to a handful of broken bits.

Re:3 months? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#46424297)

Only serves to increase my general disgust with mankind.

Re:3 months? (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | about a year ago | (#46424789)

I've dropped my G1 & G2 onto concrete, and the most they received is scratches (and the battery compartment popping open & tossing the battery). I've dropped my Galaxy S3 on the bathroom tile, and it only has a small scratch on the peripheral of the front glass. All of these have occurred from chest height (and I'm 6' tall). What are you doing to your phone that you are constantly breaking the glass? The S3 is the first I've ever but a protector on, and mostly because I put an extended battery in that doesn't fit inside the standard case.

Re:3 months? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#46426587)

You're right! You're not the only clumsy oaf out there.

Sorry but that's the simple truth. If you can't look after your phone then put it in a case like you already have or buy a durable one. The thin form the of the Galaxy S series is in my opinion one of its best features and given how I've yet to break a phone (all of mine have scratches, dings, and bits of paint missing but otherwise still work) I have not problem with Samsung removing some of that wasteful 2/3rds of useless glass.

Oh and the aftermarket for iPhone glass is also considerable so my guess is if you bang it that hard you'll break it one way or the other.

My SG2 had a 7 story fall (0)

DemonicMember (1557097) | about a year ago | (#46424477)

The glass didn't break, the cell radio did - Told the carrier ICS update bricked it and got a new one.

Re:My SG2 had a 7 story fall (0)

psyclone (187154) | about a year ago | (#46425007)

That's amazing you survived with the phone in your pocket!

Re:How about glass that doesn't break within 3 mon (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about a year ago | (#46424685)

I find typing on a flat surface doesn't work, as my fingers are curiously all of different lengths.

Of course your fingers are longer in the middle. How else are you supposed to reach the 3 & 8 keys?

Re:How about glass that doesn't break within 3 mon (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#46430589)

try typing on your fingers using your thumb... that's gonna make carpal tunnel syndrome look like a day at the beach!

It reminds me of the attempt to replace mice with gestures: cute thirty seconds, painful in under an hour.

Mind Reading (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#46424013)

I wonder how long before we accept that we will have to wear batteries to power the MRI that reads out brainwaves and turns them into text. It will happen.

Re:Mind Reading (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#46425985)

I wonder how long before we accept that we will have to wear batteries to power the MRI that reads out brainwaves and turns them into text. It will happen.

Why wait?

https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

Typing or Tuning in Tokyo??? (1)

Chad Smith (3448823) | about a year ago | (#46424049)

Mommy what is that man doing with his hands?

Prior Art? (3, Insightful)

Gryle (933382) | about a year ago | (#46424143)

I've seen laser projection keyboards for many years. Can someone with some technical know-how tell me why this isn't prior art?

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424273)

Glasses + Kinect camera = Completely new thing humanity would never have dreamed of if not for Samsung

Give them all your money!

Re:Prior Art? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#46424319)

Sorry, but ST:TNG has informed me people will still be typing on solid surfaces, over 300 years from now.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#46424561)

True, but we know from ST:DS9 that they'll switch over to holographic interfaces sometime in the late 2300s or early 2400s (or, at least they did in a future timeline in one episode [memory-alpha.org] ).

Re:Prior Art? (1)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about a year ago | (#46424603)

Mass Effect says otherwise I think.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about a year ago | (#46424695)

Yes, but the buttons will be 4 times the size of current keys and not have any text on them.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#46430151)

To be fair, their computers will have fully functional voice recognition systems that will be able to do anything the touch system can do. The touch systems will be for 'open floorplan' work spaces where people would be talking over each other, places where you want the data is at least somewhat confidential, and places that you just don't want the noise of people talking.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424333)

Square block of stone + rounded corners = Completely new thing humanity never would have dreamed of...

every invention can be boiled down to putting together well understood parts.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#46425257)

Square block of stone + rounded corners = Completely new thing humanity never would have dreamed of...

every invention can be boiled down to putting together well understood parts.

That's a pretty silly statement, as most every book written is simply an amalgam of understood words. A CPU is simply a bunch of transistors arranged in a slightly different configuration and/or size. Hell you and I are virtually identical chemically. 98.8% of our elemental composition is a mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, potassium, sodium and chlorine. Actually 96%, or more, of the composition of damn near every known living critter is the first 6 elements I mentioned. They're just arranged slightly differently. But essentially humans are not too different from a dog chemically.

What combinations of inventions were put together to invent the wheel?

Re:Prior Art? (1)

John_3000 (166166) | about a year ago | (#46428571)

He told you: square block, rounded corners

And geez, Samsung, you could be doing so much better: chordite.com

Re:Prior Art? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#46428881)

He told you: square block, rounded corners

So you're saying that Apple has a patent on the wheel? Meh. It wouldn't surprise me.

Re:Prior Art? (3, Insightful)

Verdatum (1257828) | about a year ago | (#46424343)

Projecting specifically onto the fingers in the realm of augmented reality, thus requiring tracking the fingers' position as they move, and then gauging when each portion of the fingers is touched for the sake of alphanumeric input is a specific innovation. And it certainly extends beyond laser projected keyboards.

It is at least a kinda clever idea, unlike many patents we hear about on /.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46425055)

But it's still not a new idea and thus not innovative (but still probably patentable with the right language). Using body parts as input has almost always been a part of wearable computing. I don't remember what it's called, but Microsoft Research demoed a GUI projected onto the user's arm or any other surface. Basically it looked at whatever you were projecting on and converted it into a touch surface. The tech behind this isn't new or very complicated, but the advances in small cameras, projectors, and battery life are starting to make it available in consumer products.

There's another project that used sound to convert different areas of the body into input devices. Apparently it was easy enough to filter out internal noises or tapping your skin produced a unique enough sound that the tech worked fine even as you went about your daily business. You could optionally draw a keyboard on your arm, tape a couple sensors to your skin, calibrate the software, and now you have a portable keyboard that takes up no extra space. I'm working on a similar project but for a touch wall. The research for such things has all been done, you've only got to apply it in your project.

What Microsoft and the other people lacked was the ability or will to turn their projects into something useable for mass market. With a little research and computer vision/signal processing experience you can find DIY guides on how to do both projects.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46425093)

Ah, okay, that makes more sense. Thanks for the explanation.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about a year ago | (#46428003)

Fair enough. I would at least hope, though, that the finger tap combinations that correspond to an alphabet in this invention are not themselves patentable. It's one thing to patent the input mechanism, but an entirely different thing to patent the input itself. Imagine a world where millions learned to 'type' this way, and somebody came up with another mechanism for processing finger taps that didn't infringe Samsung's mechanism. There'd be a huge barrier to adoption if everybody had to learn a new alphabet in order to use the new input device. Kind of like patenting the QUERTY keyboard (or was that patented in its day?).

Re:Prior Art? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424351)

It is not a case of prior art for the same reason as it is not a banana. It is not a laser projection keyboard. You did not read the article.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424533)

I've seen laser projection keyboards for many years. Can someone with some technical know-how tell me why this isn't prior art?

The patent is not referring to projecting the keyboard onto a flat surface, then typing on it (like a laser projected keyboard). Rather, the keyboard is projected onto your fingers, and you type by touching different fingers with your thumb (no surface involved, just your hands touching themselves).

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424627)

This is something quite different from a projected QWERTY keyboard. This maps the four fingers into four "rows" of buttons similar to a phone's number-pad keyboard. Imagine holding your phone in one hand and using your thumb to text on it. Now remove the phone but keep using the same motions, hitting the spots on your fingers where the buttons would have been if you still had the phone in your hand.

Well, from what I can tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424675)

Laser keyboards register a keystroke from IR light being reflected back from a fixed location. The AR keyboard will determine keystrokes from visually determining a thumb touching another part of a finger, combined with an adapting visual overlay for only one user, as opposed to an outwardly projected keyboard. That's as best as I can come up with.

Re:Prior Art? (3, Interesting)

ljw1004 (764174) | about a year ago | (#46424739)

I can. Here's the first step. (1) ignore the slashdot summary. (2) read the "CLAIMS" section of the patent. (3) then post about it.

In this case, what's being claimed is not a laser, is not a projection, and is arguably not even a keyboard.

Different prior art: finger counting (3, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | about a year ago | (#46424819)

Two things mentioned by others:
- The device is NOT projecting a virtual keyboard with a laser that you can tap with your fingers.
Instead, it lets you use *YOUR* finger as a keyboard and you tap them with your thumbs.
- "Projection" is a poor choice of a word. What the device do, is that it superposes a visual aid on the glasses' HUD to help with the tapping. But you're basically tapping your thumb against your fingers (the glass just puts some labels as augmented reality to help you).

So you see that this patent has absolutely nothing to do with virtual keyboard.

Instead, it's got a much more older prior art:
This way of data input is *VERY* closely related to ancient for of finger-counting in base 12 (probably has been used historically in most culture which count in "dozens") where you count phallanges with your thumb.

According to Wikipedia: apperently this method is still used around in Asia, so no surprise that a korean company is trying to turn it into a data input method.

Re:Different prior art: finger counting (1)

Gryle (933382) | about a year ago | (#46425123)

Ah, okay, that makes more sense. I read the article but not the patent filing. Thanks for making me less ignorant.

Re: Prior Art? (1)

Paul Klapperich (2936687) | about a year ago | (#46425547)

Click the link and look at the picture if you're too lazy to even read any of it... The projected keyboards project onto the desk and you type as the keyboard were built into the desk. With this, the keyboard is superimposed on your fingers and you tap different parts of your finger with your thumb to signify different letters, not unlike the old T9 texting on flip phones. The drawing in the article shows which part of your finger had which letters.

Re: Prior Art? (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about a year ago | (#46427557)

In other words, you can use your phone "hands-free" which driving, but not really hands-free.

Obligatory Kazan from the movie Cube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424203)

Gumdrop! [youtube.com]

It never ceases to amaze me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424239)

the lengths to which we got to solve absolutely trite "problems". Couldn't these smart people work on actual problems in the world?

The next level of odd (2)

e_armadillo (14304) | about a year ago | (#46424243)

Before cell phones people walking around and talking to themselves stood out as probably unstable. But now, not so much.

Will we soon see people walking around, talking to themselves, and fidgeting in the air and think nothing of it?

Re:The next level of odd (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about a year ago | (#46424703)

Already do.

Re:The next level of odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424829)

Oh, you must be in Italy.

Re:The next level of odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46424873)

Or a math department.

QWERTY keyboard (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about a year ago | (#46424425)

While they are at it, can they fix the slow-by-design QWERTY keyboard layout and come up with something to make finger key input as fast,efficient and easy to use as possible?

This is the 21st century, we shouldn't be slowed down by the limitations of the mechanical typewriter.

Re:QWERTY keyboard (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#46424701)

Well, it's Android, so try MessagEase [google.com] or a Dvorak keyboard [google.com] , or any of a hundred others.

Re:QWERTY keyboard (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#46430259)

I've come to the conclusion that we are past the point of that being necessary. I don't consider myself a great typist. Decent, but not great. When I am in practice, I can accurately type 65 wpm. In the real world, I doubt I average 45 words a minute, as there are other factors than the physical act of typing that slow me down below the 65 wpm mark.

Ambient noise does not have to be a problem (1)

willy_me (212994) | about a year ago | (#46424431)

Multiple microphones can be used to triangulate the different sources of incoming noise. Some intelligent filters that take into account the expected 3D position of the speaker can then be used to filter out ambient noise. Cell phones are already doing this - at least the good ones are. This is why the iPhone has multiple microphones. I imagine Samsung is doing something similar. You can learn more and see some impressive examples in the Stanford on-line artificial intelligence lectures. I believe they were posted in iTunes University a couple of years ago. I now use a Linux desktop so I can not verify that they are still available.

Ugh (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#46424523)

How does nobody seem to understand that any good input interface requires tactile feedback? We are truly in the age of form over function. God help us.

Re:Ugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46425483)

How much more tactile do you need than physically touching your own hand?

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46425525)

I didn't even need to RTFA to understand that you're touching your thumb to your own fingers. Seems quite tactile to me - once you get used to where the keys are you won't even need to look at the keyboard projection (though whether the glass can read your finger movements might then be an issue).

Re:Ugh (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year ago | (#46426621)

Not everyone feels that way. I type better on Swiftkey than on a real keyboard (admittedly, I type real crappy on a normal keyboard). This is because swiftkey (and probably many other soft keyboards) correct a lot of my typing. It isn't perfect (it has the nasty habit of placing spaces in bb code and HTML, for example) but it is better than a normal keyboard.

Besides that, most people feel a real keyboard just takes up to much space. A phone is not meant to program the next OS or write a book. It is a way of interacting with the world and nowadays that means much more reading and viewing as it does typing.
No I am not on twitter, let alone addicted to it. Most of the things I type on my phone are more than 140 characters.

Doesn't Seem Feasible (1)

organgtool (966989) | about a year ago | (#46424941)

This technology could be useful when you need privacy, like when you just have to talk shit on someone who is in the same room as you, but you can't dictate the message out loud. But for the most part, this seems like a highly inefficient form of input and is probably just a spaghetti-against-the-wall submarine patent in the event that someone else implements the feature and it takes off.

I came up with something like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46425317)

I came up with an idea like this a while back and posted it on Slashdot even. I specifically said this idea is not patentable. Now there is a patent on it.

Re:I came up with something like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46425327)

Sorry, I actually put it on Techdirt. Here is my similar version of it, though this one in the article is slightly different.


Re:I came up with something like this (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year ago | (#46426523)

Assuming you're the #13 AC there, what you wrote doesn't even come close to what's been described.

"They should come up with a hand held controller that lets you control it. The exact interface needs to be worked out but perhaps you can control it with your phone connected to it via bluetooth. You have a pointer/arrow that you see on the glass and you can hold the phone in your pocket and control it with your thumb."

There's no controller. Your hand just becomes a keypad to enter data.

Fin (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year ago | (#46425695)

I think Fin [indiegogo.com] has more potential.

Finally (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | about a year ago | (#46425763)

I think this is one of those technologies, like ebooks, or smartphones, that all geeks imagined in their heads growing up (at least, those who grew up before ebooks and virtual reality goggles with keyboards, etc.) - so I'm glad it's finally here! None of the ingredients are revolutionary, it just needs to happen.

Character Positioning and Layout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46426221)

I almost never post but love /. as a lurker - amusing and enlightening. As I briefly scanned the article my first impression was a lack of thoughtful finger-thumb character organization to facilitate the most commonly used character strings. The QWERTY layout was created to slow down people who typed very fast because the mechanical devices just couldn't keep up, and now we are wedded to it. The drawing in the article sort of looked like a phone key pad to me, and I wonder how wedded to this configuration we are or will remain - for sure it's not optimum for complex text structures.

I wonder what the key human factors are in consideration here, and if the hand can stand the heavy repetitive moment of this system regardless of the configuration - I'm thinking 1+ hours daily, every day? If one tries out some of the moments in use with the inner most finger pad surfaces and all finger pad surfaces on the little finger, one may experience an awkwardness and strain in of some of these movements; I did and only played with these movements for approx. a minute, often reaching to the more extreme positions that will need to be tapped. When I first began texting years ago, I had none of this awkwardness and potential stress. I was clumsy but that went away with practice, which would occur in this case to some extent, more or less.

To be transparent, I'm an active 70-year old who has a small and thriving consulting company with offices in two major cities. Consequently,I am quite plugged into technology and embrace specific technologies that leverage my intellect so I can deal with being less agile in life now. I'm very interested in things like this.

What do others think?

Re:Character Positioning and Layout (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year ago | (#46426537)

You've got a 3 x 4 grid to work with. The old keypad on phones naturally fits that. What layout of keys would you propose?

If they can do this, though, why don't they just overlay a QWERTY keyboard in the air and just do one or two finger hunt-and-peck recognition? Or maybe even a Swype style in the air. Add in some error correction / auto-correct and I think it'd be a whole lot better than a keypad on my fingers.

Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46426429)

It's nice when you make up things for a sci-fi short story, and it gets patented a year or two afterwards.

Men: iuknmljinjnjhlmmnmnjiup Ladies:ggg ggg gggggg (1)

abies (607076) | about a year ago | (#46426783)

Seen it on one of the forums discussing this technology.......

I forsee some issues (3, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#46426895)

"No Officer, I was trying to do ctrl-alt-delete."

Egg Shan vs Lo Pan! (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about a year ago | (#46427231)

Now we know how the wizards were controlling their magic warriors in Big Trouble in Little China!
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