Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently shared a hands-on video on his Instagram, trying a new virtual keyboard that can be displayed on any flat surface.
The video shows Zuckerberg and Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth participating in a typing competition to see who types faster using the virtual keyboard while wearing a Quest 2 headset. While Zuckerberg claims he was able to reach a speed of somewhere around 100 words per minute, Bosworth said he was able to type 119 words in the same timeframe.
To make the virtual keyboard accurate, a large QR code was pasted on a table with contestants tapping buttons with their hands, just like one would do on a physical keyboard.
Even though the technology is not new, when it comes to VR and AR keyboards, the typing experience is really inaccurate and slow compared to PCs and smartphones, since floating keyboards require users to move their hands in the air. Moreover, virtual keyboards offer no haptic feedback and wrist support.
While developers can currently build surface-locked virtual keyboards on Quest headsets using hand tracking, it requires users to tap the surface to calibrate the position, and in reality, even the slightest difference between the virtual and real surface’s height results in false key presses.
Meta did not share how its research plans to overcome the issue, but if the company develops a virtual keyboard with the same dimensions as the sticker, it might change the way we interact and type when wearing VR headsets.
Meta recently came up with a new way for Quest users to type with a sliding keyboard. When using handles, the keyboard seems to be pretty accurate but if you move your hands too fast, the accuracy is reduced by a significant margin. The company also lets users pair up a physical keyboard with Quest headsets, but only some models are tracked and you would have to carry another device on the go.