Google Glass is, as many of us already know, the much-debated accessory that Google brought us in the past two years. Since it is simply a (literal) heads-up display connected by way of Bluetooth, what means of text entry have there been thus far in Glass’s development? We have seen Google’s voice typing/speech-to-text interface, found in all Android devices, but not anything else really. ‘Not anymore’ can now be amended to this because Minuum has become genius once more.
Minuum is an app by the company Whirlscape Productivity, and is a keyboard replacement whose main objective is to leave the user with as much screen space as possible while typing quickly and conveniently. Their keyboard consists of two rows of characters, one along the top of numbers and some of the most common symbols, and one along the bottom with each ‘column’ being slanted to allow for maximum readability while allowing for optimum compression of space within the keyboard. It also has a button to switch to a normal, full-size keyboard as well.
Whirlscape has been working hard on innovation for Google’g Glass platform, since there is no physical interaction other than touching the panel along the right side of the (often and originally) lens-less ‘glasses’ to control it. There have been ideas for how to best and most easily interact with Glass, and Minuum is one to note for sure, because Whirlscape does not give us only one option. Here’s where it gets genius. NOTE: the methods explained below were demonstrated in a promo video on Minuum’s site, and were intended to show the possibilities of such interfaces.
The screen of Glass, as tiny as it may be, is still highly visible, and needed for text entry (for both spell-checking and all the usual things you may do during text entry). First, Minuum shows off a method of entry where the keyboard (with only the letters showing) which utilizes a simple tapping interface, using the side panel of Glass as if it were the Minuum keyboard itself. The other methods proposed are eye-tracking, secondary-device-motion-sensing, and virtual overlay. The first, eye-tracking, would use Glass to monitor where your right eye (which is the one in front of the display) is looking on the keyboard and selects that letter/column for you. The next, secondary-device-motion-sensing, is just as simple, but more obvious than the others. It would utilize Glass’s camera to ‘see’ where a secondary object or device, like a pencil for example is and when you lower it (like when you tap a pencil on a desk, and the eraser hits) Glass takes that as a ‘select that letter/column. The final one showcased is one of the most realistically possible (with currently available technology) and it is a virtual overlay of the keyboard on a physical object, like on the top of your hand, your forearm, or a table. The keyboard would be projected onto your surface of choice and you’d type as you normally would (although, with all that Minuum is doing, normal might be too boring or ‘old-school’ for many people).