Samsung shows off SelfieType, its magical invisible keyboard, at CES 2020

SelfieType (Image credit: Samsung)

What you need to know

  • Samsung's C-Labs is showing off the SelfieType keyboard at CES 2020.
  • As the name implies, this is a technology that uses your phone's selfie camera to essentially act as an invisible keyboard by analyzing your finger movements.
  • It doesn't need any extra hardware and will work just like your regular smartphone.

Samsung's C-Labs is showcasing something truly interesting this CES 2020. Dubbed the "SelfieType", this is an invisible keyboard that works with just any camera-enabled device and a large enough surface. Remember Tony Stark's holographic computers? This is sort of like that, but less flashy.

As per Samsung:

A proprietary 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.

Here's how it works:

Samsung's SelfieType is just one incubator project alongside others, so it's something that may not reach the masses. There are also a couple of good reasons beyond technical viability. Remember the Galaxy S4's Air Gestures? The LG G8? Pixel 4?

All these air gestures make for good demos and look cool on video, but their practicality in real life is often questionable. Take the demo Samsung showed us. It's essentially a person who's typing on a table. SelfieType doesn't need one, but miming typing is so impractical that it essentially becomes a requirement. I mean, one could then suggest Samsung make a surface that's portable and good for typing so you could use this everywhere, but then you're just inventing a regular Bluetooth keyboard.

Of course, with enough will and luck behind it, Samsung could somehow pull SelfieType off, and we'll be tapping away on holographic keyboards in no-time. More likely, we'll get subtle improvements in our day to day devices. Still, it's nice to dream.

Michael Allison