Google's Project Glass eyes virtual keyboard control

Posted by Shane McGlaun

One of the most interesting projects to emerge from Google's Mountain View HQ in recent years is the slick Project Glass wearable computer.

Yes, the design isn't exactly perfect - yet - and there are plenty of doubts about the future viability of Project Glass. However, the technology is certainly interesting, although many journalists and analysts have questioned how such a system would ultimately be controlled. 

Interestingly, a new Google patent application has tipped up that may indicate how Google may control Project Glass or other wearable computing devices. The patent application - titled "Methods and systems for virtual input device" - isn't even that far-fetched in terms of current technology, featuring a camera on one side of the glasses and a laser projector on the other.

The laser projector is used to shoot the virtual keyboard onto your arm or alternate surface. The camera will be capable of seeing the input you're making with the virtual buttons and turn it into something the computer hardware can understand. The camera might also be able to discern any gestures you make, allowing for easy gesture control of the system.

This sort of projected virtual keyboard technology is certainly nothing new and has been around as accessories for smartphones, tablets, and computers for quite some time now. One of the images included with the patent application seems to show a system of how the user could move his or her hand and focus on specific keys to activate input associated with those keys.

Frankly, it does sound like a very interesting control system that could be impressively easy to use. However, as with any patent application, there's no guaranteethe technology Google is trying to patent will ever be used.