Logitech wants to bring keyboards into Virtual Reality

Covering your eyes with a virtual-reality headset has its downsides, and one of them is, perhaps, the inability to see the real world. For many people, that makes the prospect of typing on a physical keyboard pretty tough. A new project between Logitech and HTC actually brings the keyboard into the virtual space.

Logitech today unveiled its BRIDGE SDK that is designed to make it easier for developers to implement keyboard or text inputs into their VR apps. The kit, which is valued at $150 and is right now only designed for the HTC Vive, includes a Logitech G gaming keyboard, an accessory that helps correctly place the Vive Tracker on the keyboard, and the necessary software to tie it all together.

As the director of innovations and strategy Vincent Tucker explains in a blog post on HTC’s Vive portal: “We believe that a physical keyboard should be present, as it delivers essential tactile feedback and a universal experience that people value. Whether you are using a keyboard for gaming, communication or productivity, it is an effective and efficient tool. Besides letters, numbers and symbols, keyboards provide a range of modifier keys for more complex actions, all learned, perhaps painfully, and stored in your memory over years of use.”

The Bridge system works by locating the Vive Tracker at a precise point to the upper-corner of the keyboard, which is then used to orient a virtual version in the VR space. The company claims that the tracking is accurate enough that when you poke a particular key in the virtual world you’re hitting the exact same key on the physical keyboard. Better still, the system allows for multiple skins to be overlaid on top of the keyboard’s avatar offering game-specific icons.

Logitech has confirmed it is running the Bridge platform through a limited 50-person closed beta, with applications open through to November 16th, and plans to eventually launch the device at $150 with the keyboard, Vive Tracker holder, and software, but without the Vive Tracker itself.