Virtual keyboards have become synonymous with touchscreens. Whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet, human machine interface (HMI) or any other touchscreen, it probably features a virtual keyboard. The virtual keyboard appears for fields and forms in which you can enter information. When composing a text message, for example, you tap the keys on a virtual keyboard to create your message. While there are no signs of virtual keyboards fading anytime soon, researchers have proposed invisible keyboards as an alternative for touchscreens.
About the Study
In a study published at Arvix.org, researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology explained how they invisible keyboards may replace virtual keyboards on touchscreens in the near future. Researchers claim that by using artificial intelligence (AI), they can create an invisible keyboard without the traditional keys and buttons of a conventional virtual keyboard.
The Benefits of Invisible Keyboards
So, why are researchers even interested in creating invisible keyboards? Well, switching from virtual keyboards to invisible keyboards could offer several benefits, one of which is a greater amount of digital real estate on touchscreens. Researchers say that virtual keyboards consume roughly 40% of the digital real estate on smartphones and other mobile devices. As a result, they aren’t able to display a lot of content when the virtual keyboard is active. With an invisible keyboard, on the other hand, the entire screen will be available.
“Contemporary soft keyboards possess a few limitations. In fact, current soft keyboard techniques damage the usability of mobile devices in multiple ways other than the mobility,” said researchers when revealing their findings.
In addition to freeing up digital real estate on mobile devices, invisible keyboards also offer a higher level of input accuracy. According to the study’s researchers, the average typing accuracy of an invisible keyboard is approximately 95.84%, which is higher than that of a virtual keyboard. And with a higher level of typing accuracy, invisible keyboards could offer productivity benefits for users.
Of course, the downside to invisible keyboards is that not many users are familiar with them. Since nearly all touchscreens use a virtual keyboard, it’s safe to assume that many users will struggle to learn the ropes of an invisible keyboard.
When can you expect to see (or not see) invisible keyboards on touchscreens? Researchers from this study didn’t announce a launch date, nor did they reveal plans to commercially build and sell invisible keyboards. Nonetheless, this study is certain to attract the attention of touchscreen manufacturers.