Logitech is creating a keyboard designed for virtual reality

If you have ever put on a pair of VR goggles and then tried to interact with your keyboard, you know how disconcerting it can be, even if you have been a touch typist for most of your life. A new project between Logitech and HTC actually brings the keyboard into the virtual space.

Logitech today unveiled its BRIDGE SDK that is designed to make it easier for developers to implement keyboard or text inputs into their VR apps. The kit, which is valued at $150 and is right now only designed for the HTC Vive, includes a Logitech G gaming keyboard, an accessory that helps correctly place the Vive Tracker on the keyboard, and the necessary software to tie it all together.

The company has been experimenting with VR for a while, reaching out to various developers to see what was important to them, said Vincent Tucker, Logitech's director of Innovations & Strategy.

"During our initial explorations of VR, we were struck by the fact that keyboard use and text entry were necessary but not natural — and we’ve heard similar complaints from others," Tucker said. He went on to state that:

"Our motivation comes from the research-backed understanding that in certain situations the user still needs a keyboard to interact with applications, particularly in productivity-driven or desktop scenarios, but also in games, social applications and content browsing. We believe that a physical keyboard should be present, as it delivers essential tactile feedback and a universal experience that people value."

According to him, VR opens up possibilities for keyboards that haven't been normally considered. The keyboard can become "a palette for your creative workflow, dynamically providing you with any commands and shortcuts you need." Imagine customizing it to change the font on the keys, the color of the keyboard, or even making unneeded keys invisible. It's all possible, depending on the app chooses to use it.

Tucker said the SDK has even solved the problem of showing hands on the keyboard using the Vive's own tracking system, a big step for those who need to see a board when they type.

Logitech plans to ship out 50 dev kits in its first run, and is taking applications from U.S. developers only until November 16. More units would be made if there is enough interest in the initial offering, he said. This is essentially a beta test and a proof of concept, so Logitech will be hoping for a lot of feedback on the device.

Source: Vive Blog

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