Samsung's SelfieType is an Invisible AI-powered Keyboard

It’s 2020, and CES is here. I am personally expecting to read articles, and watch YouTube videos of very crazy stuff companies are working on. From folding phones, to crazy laptops, home appliances and cars.

Samsung has unveiled a list of products/prototypes it’ll be showcasing at this year’s CES including a smart-highlighter that digitises everything it highlights, a gadget to analyse your scalp to prevent hair loss, and an artificial sunlight window-like gadget. But the one that’s bound to raise eyebrows most is SelfieType.

SelfieType is a simple as it dumb name suggests: An app that uses the selfie camera to track your hand movement, so that you can type invisibly. Samsung says:

SelfieType AI engine analyzes finger movements coming from the front camera, and converts them into QWERTY keyboard inputs. SelfieType requires no additional hardware and it is highly adaptable to various mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.

What I like about tech is that it is crazy. People dream up crazy stuff, and make them realities. That’s why we have touch screen devices, that’s why we have bendable displays, that’s why we have AI.

For a long time now, we’ve seen crazy ideas on how to change how we type, or interact with our devices. The Pixel 4 comes with a Soli chip that helps the device become aware, and can sense gestures to help one interact with the device without touching it. Samsung had a weird feature with the S4 many years back that allowed you to scroll, and do much more with just your eyes.

The problem is all these things are seen as gimmicks. Will Samsung’s seemingly very simplistic approach work well, and actually prove itself useful, and necessary?

Well, we are in the decade of Artificial Intelligence, and you probably know AI is the answer to every crazy idea. Samsung believes with AI, the app will be able to not only track your fingers and provide an accurate map of how you type, but also to learn and get better with time.

As tech shifts to new form factors for our portable devices, there’s the need for a new way of typing, a cool way. We’ve seen laser powered keyboards, but these aren’t also very accurate, plus you need to carry around the thing that shoots the lasers. Perhaps the selfie camera, and AI can prove to be the solution. So you could in the future just walk to a café with your phone in your pocket, and type away on the desk your new thriller novel.

The challenges however with this idea are:

  • we need feedback when typing
  • camera can’t map out a large area, so one may need to change where, and how they place their hands

Anyway, let’s wait and see the videos and articles from CES to hear from those attending what they think of this concept.

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