Virtual reality has the opportunity to be a vast and wondrous section of the technology market, and it was only going to be so long before Google really started to dive in deep and explore what they could do. Yesterday during the keynote speech at their annual I/O developer conference, Google officially announced Daydream, their VR platform for Android, along with a slew of different details about projects that will revolve around it and companies that are already building hardware to support it. Google, of course, is one of these companies, as they have confirmed that they will be building their own Daydream VR headset, they’re also currently playing around with different software, and one of those projects is a virtual keyboard that was cooked up by the Google VR team where keys are laid out like a set of drums, and using a controller they could tap each tiny drum that was associated with a letter to type up stuff.
Google’s Daydream Labs states that as exciting as VR is right now there is a whole lot more to discover, noting that they have built over 60 app experiments in the past year, one of which was the Drum Keys which you can see in action in the video below. They also mention that they initially used the HTC Vive controllers as drumsticks for the app in its first iteration which was just a virtual drum kit. That transitioned into the Drum Keys experience as they began to kick around ideas on how to make a more natural and playful experience out of typing in virtual reality.
Interestingly enough, typing with the drumsticks was “faster than using a laser pointer,” says Andrey Doronichev, who is the Group Product Manager for Google VR. That’s a revelation that is likely to spawn more unique, and intriguing ways of typing interaction with virtual reality, as the current state of typing in VR in most cases is anything but simple and efficient. While Drum Keys may never end up a mainstay when it comes to virtual keyboard apps, the team at Daydream Labs says it’s really fun, and if anything it shows off the capabilities of what’s possible with VR as long as you’re creative enough to dream something up.