Although the prospect of new smart watches – Apple, Google, Samsung and others – is very exciting, it’s still hard to imagine how they would be really useful.
Fortunately, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University are trying to find out if a virtual keyboard could work in a smart watch-after all, you can’t always rely on voice recognition.Here’s the solution that he created.
Called Zoomboard, the LED sports watch is that a small screen may contain a full QWERTY keyboard, with intelligent zoom as you type. Touch a part of the keyboard, and you zoom to show the buttons of an area; play it again and type the letter.
He also uses swipes to help edit the text: slide right inserts a space; to the left, deletes a character; up, displays the keyboard symbols. It would be great, for example, to correct something that the voice recognition on the smartwatch clock didn’t get it right.
The Zoomboard doesn’t seem complicated to use, it’s well executed and could at least allow you to enter a short message on your wrist. And it better be short: in tests, students were able to enter only 9.3 words per minute on the keyboard.
But that’s okay, because this is a first step. Smart Watches will not be perfect at the beginning, but it’s nice to know that someone is thinking about how to make them work better. The Zoomboard will appear this week on Computer Human Interaction Conference, in Paris, and the source code will be made available free of charge. [Zoomboard viaTechnology Review]