Fujitsu’s invisible tablet keyboard makes an appearance at MWC 2013

via TechCrunchFor the occasional email that you may have to tap out on your tablet or smartphone, it doesn’t make sense to tote a whole physical keyboard in your bag. But then again, you can’t stand the virtual keyboard on your device because it covers up half your screen, making it difficult to see what you’re writing. So what options do you have?

Fujitsu has been working on a way to use your tablet or smartphone’s front-facing camera to track your fingers so that you can type on any flat surface. TechCrunch spotted a demo of this prototype mobile typing technology at the company’s booth at Mobile World Congress in Spain earlier this week.

From what TechCrunch saw, the invisible keyboard is mostly driven by software that runs on a “generic Fujitsu Windows 8 tablet.” There is no fancy setup to make this technology work: the tablet just needs to be propped up in front of your hands, and your hands need to be brightly lit with a lamp so the slate’s camera can pick up on your fingers. It’s able to interpret what you want to type based on where your fingers are in relation to the keyboard layout and track their movements.

via TechCrunch

While the software is smart enough to figure out what you’re tapping, it can’t really detect the movements of hands with darker skin tones yet. That’s why the prototype at MWC 2013 was setup for lighter skin tones, which meant the tablet ignored the taps of users with darker skin colors even though the software could detect their typing. In Ubergizmo‘s opinion, darker skin tones can be more difficult for the camera to track than lighter skin colors, so hopefully the Japanese company can overcome this technical huddle.

Clearly, Fujitsu still has some work to do with the software before it is ready to be included into its smartphones and tablets – especially if those devices are expected to sell outside of Japan. But without the tactile feedback of a physical or even on-screen keyboard, will this gesture-based keyboard technology be any different from the lame laser projection keyboards you can get from the mall? What do you think? 

Images via TechCrunch.

[UPDATE 3:30PM 3/1/2013: Added photo credits, and rephrased the second-to-last paragraph to include Ubergizmo’s opinion on why the technology has trouble detecting darker skin tones at the moment.]

Article originally published on 3/1/2013

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

In 2019, laptops are better than ever. Here are the best of the best

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. Our picks for the best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while they're at it.

Former student uses USB Killer device to fry $58,000 worth of college’s PCs

A former student used a USB Killer device to short circuit more than $58,000 of computers at a private New York college earlier this year. The student pled guilty to the charges and sentencing is scheduled to begin in August.

AMD Ryzen CPU prices get slashed ahead of Ryzen 3000 release

AMD's Ryzen CPUs have had their prices slashed as we edge towards the release of their third generation. Whether you're a gamer or someone who needs multi-threaded performance, there's a deal for everyone with some heavy discounts to take…

The number pad on HP’s Chromebook 15 makes spreadsheet work a breeze

HP's Chromebook 15 comes with a 15.6-inch display, a metal keyboard deck with full-size keys, and a dedicated number pad, making it the second Chromebook model, following Acer's Chromebook 715, to be suited for spreadsheet work.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.