Google’s VR drum keyboard looks like a highly inefficient but fun way to type

Typing is probably the last thing you think about as a virtual reality experience, but you’ve got to be able to write things somehow. 

How about a virtual drumset? Sure, why not.

Google says the drumset is one of the first experiences in its new Daydream Labs test kitchen for virtual reality experiences. It came about after messing about with HTC Vive controllers:

…in one week we built a virtual drum kit that used HTC Vive controllers as drumsticks. The following week, when we were debating how to make typing in VR more natural and playful, we thought — “what if we made a keyboard out of tiny drums?”

Sounds good to me. It looks like a ton of fun, but that aside, the idea might actually have some legs.

If you’ve used a headset like the Gear VR before, then you know that typing can be a real pain, aiming your head a virtual keyboard to pick the right letters. You can’t use an actual keyboard unless you’re a great touch typist, and in any case, a stationary physical keyboard somewhat defeats the purpose of VR.

Google previously tried using a ‘laser pointer’ method where you aim your controller at letters, but it turns out the drum typing was more musical and efficient. The company even built a game to track your typing speed, and could achieve 50 WPM speeds, which isn’t too shabby all things considered.

I do find it a little hard to believe this would stick around in the long run. Angry typists would have their controllers flying out of their hands and into people’s eyes, but I’d love to see it show up as at least an option. Typing *rimshot* after a bad joke would be so much more literal.

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