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HTC Vive and Logitech Announce Bridge SDK to Bring Keyboards into VR

Only 50 kits will be made available to developers to begin with.

Virtual reality (VR) can do a lot of things that makes gaming and entertainment immersive, from motion controllers to the Vive Tracker which can be attached to any object to make it useable in VR. One of the technology’s weaker points is that of text input, which is usually fiddly at best – and nowhere near as easy as a keyboard. So HTC Vive and accessory company Logitech have teamed up together to solve the problem, creating the Bridge software development kit (SDK).

The kit consists of a Logitech G gaming keyboard, an accessory that positions a Vive Tracker correctly on the keyboard, and the associated software. Aimed at helping App makers and SW developers solve the problem of text entry in VR, Logitech will be seeding 50 of these kits to select developers with the goal of partnering to create compelling new experiences centred around a VR keyboard.

HTC Vive controller tracker image

“We’ve been working with Logitech over the past year and think what they’ve created is the solution we all need,” said Darshan Shankar, Founder and CEO, Bigscreen, Inc. “Virtual keyboards are great for simple interactivity, but for productivity and collaboration there’s nothing quite like the tactile feel of typing on an actual physical keyboard. Being able to see your keyboard in VR makes it significantly easier to type and interact with our computers.”

As Vincent Tucker, Director of Innovations & Strategy at Logitech explains in a blog posting: “During our initial explorations of VR, we were struck by the fact that keyboard use and text entry were necessary but not natural.

“We believe that a physical keyboard should be present, as it delivers essential tactile feedback and a universal experience that people value.”

The system works by presenting the user with an overlaid virtual representation of their keyboard in any VR application that’s been developed based on SteamVR. Not only does the software feature animations when the keys are pressed, Logitech has also managed to use HTC Vive’s existing tracking so that users can see their hands.

Logitech is accepting applications now through to 16th November, 2017 for the initial 50 slots. Should there be sufficient interest the company may build additional kits for purchase after the initial batch is distributed.

As further details on the Bridge SDK are released, VRFocus will keep you updated.

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