A new system combines the Vive Tracker with logitech keyboards to bring physical typing to VR.
One of the most important aspects of truly immersive VR is the ability to use motion controls to interact with the virtual environment. Sure there are plenty of fun experiences that utilize standard gamepads or even no controls at all, but there’s no denying the incredible sensation of altering the virtual world with your own two hands. However, when it comes to searching and communicating while in a headset, these same motion controls can hinder many keyboard-based experiences.
That’s precisely why the world needs the Logitech Bridge, a new SDK and accessory kit that allows users to view their keyboard while in VR. Created in partnership with Virtual Desktop, BigScreen, Autodesk and several others, the Bridge combines the Vive Tracker with a Logitech G gaming keyboard. Via a special attachment that uses Logitech software, a virtual version of the exact keyboard models appears in VR, directly on top the physical one in any game or app available in Steam VR.
“Whether you’re doing work or surfing the web you sometimes need the ability to enter text, and Logitech has made it easier to use your keyboard in VR,” said Guy Godin of Virtual Desktop. “With Bridge, you can see your physical keyboard, your hands and type without having to take your headset off.”
“We’ve been working with Logitech over the past year and think what they’ve created is the solution we all need,” said Darshan Shankar, Founder and CEO, Bigscreen, Inc. “Virtual keyboards are great for simple interactivity, but for productivity and collaboration there’s nothing quite like the tactile feel of typing on an actual physical keyboard. Being able to see your keyboard in VR makes it significantly easier to type and interact with our computers.”
The tracker monitors your hands positions while near the keyboard and renders live 3D models so you know exactly where your hands are at all times. The system features a variety of customizable overlays, allowing users to label their keys and set-up specific hotkeys for different experiences. Currently Logitech is offering 50 free developer kits to select applicants, with a $150 price tag established for the consumer model. That’s a hefty sum considering you’ll also need the $99 tracker to get your system up and running on the $599 Vive.
Price tag aside, it’s a creative solution to a problem that, while not plaguing the industry, maintains itself as a mild frustration. While this could be the solution to many users looking to enhance their games or experiences, it’s more than likely developers will see the most use out of this. Building experiences for VR means constantly going in and out of a headset as you develop. Giving developers the ability to type and alter their projects without having to remove their headset could potentially speed up creation as well as make the process more convenient.
So if you’re a developer looking to get in on all this virtual typing action, fill out an application. Better hurry though, as the deadline is November 16th.