WATCH: Microsoft Tests a Keyboard That Understands Your Gestures
You're typing. You're in the zone. But you need to open another tab or you need to zoom, so you get the mouse involved, which breaks your flow.
OK, so it's not a Top 10 list kind of problem. But considering the number of hours many of us spend in front of a computer, a more convenient keyboard would be a big win.
Microsoft is looking into it: The company is experimenting with applying gesture tracking technology to the traditional PC keyboard, so it can be used like a keyboard, mouse and touchscreen all in one. "Our goal is to enable fast, easy and low effort gestures allowing users to smoothly transition between text entry and motion based gestures so that hands always remain in the home position on the keyboard," a video released by Microsoft's research division explains.
It goes on to illustrates how, with an augmented mechanical keyboard, users can transition from typing to scrolling, switch between windows and zoom (by hovering one's hand over the keyboard, and pinching like on a touchscreen).
While the video gets pretty technical, the takeaway is clear: "We think the system could enable a rich set of compelling and useful interactions which tightly integrate with regular desktop work," it concludes.
Check out the motion-sensing mechanical keyboard in action.