Yesterday Facebook was granted patent for a new trackpad-like device that will allow VR headset users to type out messages or answer emails that uses a QuickPath, SwiftKey or Swype-like approach to skating through a virtual keyboard. Jonathan Ravaszm who is listed as the lead inventor of this Facebook / Oculus invention, joined Apple in Januay 2020 as a UX Prototyper.
According Facebook's newly granted patent, their invention covers a computing device in an artificial reality system that may present a user a virtual keyboard that can be typed with a controller in an efficient, intuitive, and convenient way.
The controller may be used as an input device in artificial reality applications. The controller may comprise a trackpad and one or more buttons, where the trackpad on the controller may be a type of pointing device that may be controlled by a user with a thumb or a stylus pen.
When a user wants to type characters using a virtual keyboard, the user may use the trackpad to control the movement of a pointing indicator (equivalent to a cursor on the computer screen) over the keyboard. Because the trackpad is relatively small and the range of motion of a user's thumb is limited, the user may not be able to reach every key on the virtual keyboard in one motion.
When the user types on the virtual keyboard using the trackpad, the user may need to scroll repeatedly to move between characters on the virtual keyboard, especially when the two characters are located far from each other on the keyboard. The computing device may move the virtual keyboard as the user moves her thumb on the trackpad to make typing on a virtual keyboard with a trackpad-based controller efficient, intuitive, and convenient. When a user's thumb moves in a direction toward a character that the user wants to reach, the computing device may move the trackpad-based keyboard in the opposite direction of the thumb movement. By doing this, the user may be able to reach the target character faster.
In particular embodiments, a computing device may receive a command from a user to display a virtual keyboard. The computing device may be a part of an artificial reality system, and the user may be using an artificial reality system.
Facebook's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an example artificial reality system; FIG. 3 illustrates an example re-positioning of the virtual keyboard based on an initial touch on the trackpad.
Facebook's patent FIG. 6 above illustrates an example method for adjusting the position of a virtual keyboard based on a touch position on the trackpad.
Facebook's granted patent that was originally filed in June 2018 was given granted status by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesterday.