In computer systems, the actual processors, are more likely to become outdated than to actually wear out. But there are parts of a computer system that are more susceptible to wear and tear.As the technology advances, more and more systems are introduced which will look after the user’s comfort. Few years before hard switches were used as keys. Now-a-days soft touch keypads are much popular in the market. These keypads give an elegant look, they give a better feel.They are dust-proof and has got much more life than the other keypads. Thus we see that the new technology always has more benefits and is more user-friendly.
We are presenting here a next generation technology in this area, which is the Adaptable Virtual Keyboard. As the name suggests the virtual keypad has no physical appearance.In the current scenario we use keyboards which have specific size and specific imprints on the keys. The interactivity and usability of keyboards would surely increase if it could display a symbol for the current function associated with the key or if the language of the keyboard could be changed.
Existing System and their Drawbacks:
Microsoft aimed at making the virtual keyboard but the layout and functions of the keyboard cannot be changed. The system uses 3D modelling to detect a keystroke and is processor intensive. Special hardware to project the “qwerty” layout and infrared light which is required in detection undermines the sole objective of reducing hardware components and cost reduction.
Another hardware based keyboard named “Optimus Prime” has inbuilt LCD display on each key and the function of each key can be changed. This is done to increase interactivity but again, having a LCD display in every key makes is costly. The same functionality can be implemented using the Adaptable Virtual Keyboard and macros.
The proposed system would have an application frontend which would help initialise the keyboard to the new environment.Any image projected/surface can be a reference and a photo of the same is stored in memory as a reference image. This reference image would be segmented. On running the program we would be able to detect any change in this image by comparing it with the original image stored. After detection of the segment where the change occurs, a virtual key press would be initiated by calling a macro or a function using visual basic.The current function of each key would be displayed for user convenience and can be changed according to user preference. The macro associated with each key can be varied easily from the frontend. This would make the keyboard truly adaptable.
The surface needs to be stable and static, preferably planar and not of skin color. This will serve as the reference and on which the user can put a finger to initiate the virtual key press.
This is the basic input device to the system. The camera needs to be focused correctly. The zoom function of the camera would help vary the effective keyboard size.
This is the heart of the system. It includes functions to:
o Interface the camera
o Interface for configuring and running the software
o Extract image from video and segment it
o Detect segment where image varies using histograms
o Initiate key press by calling a macro
Following are the major advantages of proposed system:
o Opens a whole new door to keyboard based applications.
o Games can make the maximum utilization of the keyboard by displaying only those keys that are used in the game. Even symbols can be displayed instead of the lame alphabets that have to be remembered. (e.g. Instead of remembering ‘A’ as left, ‘D’ as right we can display ‘?’ on any key that is to be used as left. ‘?’ on any key to be used as right and so on…)
o Multilingual support. Since the key-displays are reconfigurable, there is no language barrier any more.
o Touch screen is similar to this implementation, but they do require additional effort and are not ergonomically comfortable. User doesn’t have to raise his arm to the monitor every time to use it.
o Keyboards with any resolution can be built according to user’s choice.