Google Glass patent hints at laser-projected keypad on your hand

Laser-projected keyboards have been around forever. But laser keyboards projected onto the palm of your hand from Google's Project Glass? That's new.

In most cases, blinks, nods and voice control will be sufficient for taking photos and sharing them to Google+ and such. However, Google might have a solution for more advanced forms of input.

A new Google patent filed on June 26, 2012, but only recently made public suggests the $1,500 glasses may use a camera and projector to project a virtual keyboard on your hand.

According to the patent abstract:

"The present application discloses systems and methods for a virtual input device. In one example, the virtual input device includes a projector and a camera. The projector projects a pattern onto a surface. The camera captures images that can be interpreted by a processor to determine actions. The projector may be mounted on an arm of a pair of eyeglasses and the camera may be mounted on an opposite arm of the eyeglasses. A pattern for a virtual input device can be projected onto a "display hand" of a user, and the camera may be able to detect when the user uses an opposite hand to select items of the virtual input device. In another example, the camera may detect when the display hand is moving and interpret display hand movements as inputs to the virtual input device, and/or realign the projection onto the moving display hand."

Here's an illustration from the patent showing how a projected keyboard on your hand would work:


Since the keyboard is only a projection, it's not limited to the hand, either. A keypad can be projected on virtually any surface, including a person's wrist as shown in Fig. 5:


Keep in mind that Google Glass is a test bed for wearable computers. Maybe Google's secret "X" lab has a real working prototype of Glass with a laser-projector (maybe not). It's impossible to tell if a concept like this will ever come to fruition. But if (and when) it becomes feasible, Google will have the patent rights to it. In our opinion, it's still better than that ring controller patent.

Free Patents Online, via UnwiredView

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook