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Microsoft Research is building a gesture-sensing physical keyboard

Microsoft Research has posted a report, as well as the video above, about their prototype for a new, gesture-reading, mechanical keyboard. The prototype, built using the keys of an Apple wireless keyboard (oh, irony, sweet sweet irony), uses a low-resolution matrix of infrared sensors placed between the keys to detect gestures, such as swiping and pinch-to-zoom, on the keyboard.

This achieves an effect similar to the new Touch Cover 2 for the Surface 2 tablets, though the prototype goes a step further, reading gestures taking place above the keyboard instead of sensing you brushing your fingers over its surface.

Source: Microsoft Research

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Reader comments

Microsoft Research is building a gesture-sensing physical keyboard

71 Comments

Not really related to Windows/Phone, but totally awesome!  If the final product is designed well (which they usually are), then this will be really cool.  I especially liekd when he did the steering wheel motion.

They actually are. I saw Daniel Rubino or James Falconer say this either on the forums somewhere in a WPCentral site feedback thread or in a comment on an article from long ago.

I mean, obviously it had to use an Apple keyboard. They have to get rid of the garbage somehow and they obviously didn't want to just throw it away. (;

I don't think Apple invented the white color on a keyboard even though they might have tried to patent it...

That... Is actually kind of cool. I just mimed the action of typing and gesturing right above it and it felt pretty good.

I wish they'd make they wp virtual keyboard non-reliant on devs coding for it eg. Web forms that ask for email & would be nice to see a quicker route to get to underscore

See Microsoft Research team is always moving. How about Facebook team for Windows Phone. Meh, I doubt they are moving too.

That'd be awesome!!!! The gesture benefit of a Touch Cover combined with the typing accuracy of a Type Cover. Shut up and take my money!!!!

Skip all this gesture BS and go straight to mind control, I say. Until then the mouse and keyboard will suit me fine.

Why? What have they infringed on of Microsoft's? All of the fanboys here really need to learn how the fucking business world works.

hmmm... You are "Tense" indeed! :) But no, I agree with you, but it seems that there's a race to collect patents and sue.  Google and Samsung were in the news lately a lot.

I wonder if Apple would start a lawsuit war with Microsoft for using their keys in the keyboard? :)

It says it in the article that Apple keyboard keys are used. And please, waste your time by trying to find me as I spread this "rumor" of Apple keys being used in this project all over the internet.

This is nice, but can we also get WordFlow on the surface's on screen keyboard? I keep trying to swipe my words and get disappointed everytime!

Seems pointless to me, touchpad can pinch to zoom and if you want fast typing then learn to touch type and stop being so lazy.

Only if you look at it from the perspective of what was demoed. But if you look at how this can be applied, it's awesome.  Gaming comes to mind first, or a whole new type of input device compared to the traditional keyboard, and the options are limitless.

I don't think this will be commercialized anytime soon.

Next from MSR I want to see touchscreen/computing paper like from the end of The Avengers movie.

Very cool but not practical. Too many camera units between keys. You know how dirt and crap tend to build up in those slits & slots, right?

so moving my whole hand around is easier than just touching the keyboard? Just get a damn touch screen, it's as silly as that samsung waving your hand around above your phone crap. Just as easy to twich my thumb to change a picture as to try to jedi mind trick my phone.