Towards Eyes Free Typing in VR: Investigation of Touch Typing with Mid-Air Haptic Feedback

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets combine immersive graphics with scant opportunities for the high bandwidth forms of input, such as typing, that are common on traditional computers. Techniques such as in-air typing can address this discrepancy. This work contributes to the in-air typing literature by investigating the effects of keystroke level haptic feedback on performance. We describe two studies. An initial study with 16 touch-typists generated a model for classifying stroking fingers and target keys during typing in mid-air. A second study applies this recognizer and augments the typing experience with keystroke level in-air ultrasonic haptic cues presented to the stroking finger. We investigate how this feedback impacts typing performance in terms of both traditional metrics such as WPM and in the quality and form of the finger strokes made by participants. We find the effects of mid-air haptic feedback on finger stroking depth and velocity, and showed the feasibilities to achieve eyes-free typing in VR. We close by discussing apparent benefits of mid-air haptic feedback to support complex, hand bandwidth input tasks such as typing in VR.

Study 1: Understanding In-Air Touch Typing in VR

Study 2: Effects of Mid-Air Haptic Feedback