Better input and bigger screens for cell phones? How about virtual screen from Samsung?

Have you been struggling with the text input on you phone, when writing SMS message or entering calendar appointment? With the need to press phone key 5 times just to get to the desired character? Cell phone manufacturers have known about this inconvenience for a long time and have come up with different solutions to the problem. Folding QWERTY keyboards, predictive text input, on screen character display, etc. Still, they all have some shortcomings and none of them have gained wide acceptance among consumers.

Now Samsung has designed another interesting input method – Virtual Display for inputting characters and symbols on a mobile phone. According to patent application filed yesterday, Samsung is working on a:

…device and method for inputting characters or drawings on a mobile terminal using a virtual screen. To input characters or drawings through a virtual screen, the mobile terminal includes an electronic pen, a virtual screen generator, a position detector for detecting the electronic pen position, and a character recognition algorithm for recognizing a trail as a character. When a signal is input from the electronic pen, the mobile terminal detects the originating position of the signal and its trail. The mobile terminal recognizes the detected trail as a character and generates a virtual screen with the recognized character.

According to the application the described device will project virtual screen in a form of notebook on a flat surface. Just like normal computer display, this virtual screen will have text and drawing input areas, menu/toolbar control zones and scrolling capability.

Another key part of the device is an electronic pen that communicates with mobile phone via infrared or ultrasonic signal. When the virtual screen is generated, the user can write characters on the user input window with an electronic pen emitting infrared rays or ultrasonic waves. These signals emitted from the electronic pen are monitored by a user input sensor of the mobile phone. Screen generator is always aware about the changing position of the pen and is able to project the user generated characters on the virtual screen at once. So the user is able to see what he or she writes or draws in real time. The device also includes Character Recognition software to convert user input into text and the possibility to manipulate, store and transmit user generated drawings.

Quite an interesting application which, given sufficient memory and processing power can transform your cell phone into full fledged PC, with the capabilities currently found only on Tablet PCs and new UMPC devices.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • peter

    it idea not the simens one ?
    why is samsung copying some one else ?

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  • jay

    peter up there! you might be a law school’s deep to patent implementation.. give me some why about..

  • Electronics This Week

    Samsung should also include this in their UMPC device.

  • stace

    Maybe.But I don’t see necessity for this virtual screen to be in UMPC. UMPCs already got rather big screens and pen input.

    Just put UMPC on the table and write or draw what you want with stylus.

  • brian

    This reminds of this add-on I purchased for my treo:

    It connects to my phone via bluetooth and projects a full-size laser keyboard on a flat surface– so much better than the tiny treo keyboard. Such a slick product!

  • anon

    Well UMPCs will come with stands so that they could sit up at an angle in a comfortable viewing position allowing the user to not have to hold it up. the virtual screen could be used as a keyboard (the original vscreen demo actually did that; it was a number pad) or a writing surface allowing the user to, say, finish a word document, conduct a live meeting, etc.

  • PAStheLoD

    There was/is a virtual keyboard patent somewhere too, and a company that would manufacture it have encountered some – if I remember correctly – legal problems.. so this isn’t completly new.

  • Brad

    What a farce…Those three elements are already represented by prior art, and the only thing new is how they are being put together. In fact, it begs the question, “how new does it need to be to be patentable?”. The virtual screen is the same as the laser keyboards which have been out over a year, the text recognition is essentially graffiti, and pen location recognition of that type is going to be similar to some patents for camera tech.

  • dan

    This is not entirely original. For example, there is the VLK (Virtual Laser Keyboard) for Palm and other PDA’s – see here: … here is another link:

    It looks like this will be an adaptation of this idea, adding a stylus and dynamic UI.

  • Brad

    This is better than the virtual keyboard though. I always thought the virtual keyboard would be the future of these devices but with no tactile response, the idea is dead in the water.

    This may be the way solution.

    Bummer, just when I thought I would never need to write again. My handwriting has deteriorated because I NEVER need to write anything.

  • PAStheLoD

    I’d rather type on a virtual keyboard, than write with an ePen, that quickly depletes it’s batttery, for example.

  • Rick

    This is exactly same input technology of Celluon that is also in Korea like Samsung. Their projection keyboard not only supports keystroke but also mouse event as well. You can refer to or for details

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  • Dan

    It may not be a new idea but I like it, the trouble with mobile devices is that they are too big but to make them much smaller would make them unusable. The only way around this is for designers to break with the norms and be imaginative.

  • Barry

    The technology was similar to that of now defunt IBiz tech. No word on weather this will go forward, it’s been 3 years now since the technology came out so.

  • Paul M Horn

    I have a system of adreaviation to word to Sign language;
    Look how to get this to pepole interested.
    30 to 40 million kid can learn sign language with text messaging

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