November 5, 2017 weblog
Bridge developer kit to pave way for happy keyboard experiences in VR
(Tech Xplore)—Logitech is doing something quite interesting by way of integration with the Vive Tracker, and the result is that a keyboard will make its entry into the virtual world.
Logitech is announcing its Bridge Developer Kit, and is making an attractive call on app makers and software developers to help transform the project into reality—our reality.
A Logitech video was posted recently announcing the SDK for HTC Vive and Vive Tracker. The walk-through explained what Logitech aims to do along with information on the Bridge SDK.
Vincent Tucker, director of strategy and innovation, Logitech, presented his case.
"Many people are expressing the desire to have an effective typing-experience in VR," he said, and this is what Logitech is trying to address.
After all, there are situations where the user still needs a keyboard to interact with applications, he said in a guest blog, from productivity-driven or desktop scenarios, to games, social applications and content browsing
He said when you link the HTC Vibe tracker to the keyboard with the software, it gives you a 3-D model of the keyboard in the virtual environment. You can see your hands and how they interact with the keyboard.
One key advantage in this keyboard in VR appears that you can see your keyboard, your hand and type without having to remove your headset.
Specifically, they found a way for the HTC Vive Tracker to represent a keyboard across the Steam VR system. The software presents an overlaid virtual representation of the keyboard in a VR application, with animations when keys are pressed. "It's compatible with all apps that are developed based on SteamVR," he said in the Vive blog.
So what's in the Bridge kit?
The kit consists of a Logitech G gaming keyboard, an accessory that positions a Vive Tracker correctly on the keyboard and the software, valued at around $150.
Tech-watcher Shawn Knight likes the customization potential. He wrote in TechSpot. "Bringing your keyboard into the virtual world is just one part of the equation. The lure of customization is also attractive. Imagine being able to change the font on your keyboard, colorize select keys or create custom labels for hotkeys."
Ah, the catch? TechCrunch had it. ""it's just an experiment for now."
Logitech is looking for some developers and they recommend those who are interested to apply for a dev kit. "We're really excited to see what you guys put together and can't wait to work with you," said Tucker in the video.
Fifty of these kits will be sent to select developers. The application deadline is November 16. The challenge: Creating experiences centered around a VR keyboard.
Only 50? There are an initial 50 slots in the developer program, but Tucker said that if there is sufficient interest, they may build additional kits for purchase after the initial batch is distributed.
So, he said, "we are looking for some developers to complete the application...we recommend you apply to get a dev kit. We're really excited to see what you guys put together and can't wait to work with you."
What's next: They are working on high-level fidelity, accuracy and setup of configuration. They want to make sure it is robust enough.
TechSpot thinks "This could be seriously beneficial for productivity apps."
In Road to VR, Ben Lang took note of this ambition to bring a properly tracked keyboard into VR. Lang's comment: "This isn't the first time someone has tried to make typing easier in VR, but it's one of the most high-tech we've seen so far."
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