Japan’s NEC has unveiled an augmented reality (AR) concept that allows users to type on a virtual keyboard from their forearm through the use of a pair of glasses and smartwatch. Dubbed the ARmKeypad, the technology’s intended use is to allow users a “hands-free” text entry method, with the AR glasses letting them see the keys on their arm, and the data being entered into the smartwatch.
NEC says it feels the ARmKeypad could be a better way to enter data while working than other next-gen input methods, like voice-based systems, as they can become unusable in noisy environments. The video below shows a demonstration of the tech in action, complete with the smartwatch getting its own augmented reality component.
The company thinks the ARmKeypad could be well suited for work in the manufacturing, healthcare, document management, and security fields. No specifics on the hardware or software were revealed, but NEC intends to release a commercial version of the technology sometime in 2016, however pricing is yet to be determined.
While most of NEC’s examples make mentions of situations were workers need both their hands free, it seems like they may have forgotten that one hand must be used to input data on the other forearm. And if it comes to entering large amounts of text, trying to type with one hand would be quite inconvenient. They do make a point about voice-based interfaces being unusable in loud situations, but typing with two hands, such as on a virtual/AR keyboard projected onto a flat surface, will always be a better option.