Dotting the I’ s and Crossing the T’s With Handwriting Recognition Systems
Posted Jan 1, 1999
Both handwriting recognition and speech recognition are technologies that reduce the need for a clumsy input device like a keyboard. Such advances make computing easier for mobile workers, allowing them to be more productive and bring computer power to many who would not otherwise be able to access it. Perhaps not surprisingly, the makers of handwriting recognition products face challenges similar to those that speech processing developers have been working on for many years. Among the types of problems confronted by makers of handwriting recognition systems are: Robustness in regard to pattern variations. Handwriting comes in all shapes and sizes and handwriting recognition products need to be robust as to rotation, scale, distortion, and overlapping. Speed of recognition for real-time applications: While the first handwriting recognition systems were dismissed as being too slow, today it is possible to have immediate recognition. Hardware requirements: Getting the most out of a handwriting recognition system requires optimizing resources throughout the recognition process. Also, the constant requirement for any system: cost. In this issue of our continuing series on advanced interfaces, we are looking at some of the most recent developments in the field of handwriting recognition. Jot from CIC
The most popular handwriting recognition system is Jot, from Communication Intelligence Corporation. Jot 2.0 is a handwriting recognition system for Microsoft Windows CE 2.0, with a patented user interface that allows handwritten input on hand held PC devices. Jot is designed to make one hand data entry quick and easy, and can be ideal when a user needs a free hand to hold the telephone. Users are able to write anywhere on the screen. Using screen side pointers called Mode Mark guides, which create an imaginary line, letters written below the "line" are interpreted as lowercase and letters that extend across the "line" will be interpreted as uppercase. Numbers and equations in the Jot user interface are written above the "line." Users are able to adjust to the machine with a simple technique: for lowercase letters, write below the line; for uppercase letters, write characters that extend above and below the line. As a result, Jot never confuses identically shaped characters such as "O," "o," or "0" (zero). System requirements are a Microsoft Windows CE 2.0 Handheld Platform device, Windows CE Services running on a Windows 95 or NT computer for installing Jot, and 150-390 K bytes of free space, depending on the microprocessor used and features installed. Also, CIC recently confirmed that its popular note taking application, Quick Notes is now available for the Palm III, PalmPilot and Pilot edition connected organizers from 3Com Corporation. QuickNotes is a notetaking application that captures handwritten notes and drawings in ink. Mark Bercow, vice president of strategic alliances and platform development for Palm Computing Inc., said "We are pleased to see that the success of the Palm Computing platform has attracted CIC and encouraged CIC to develop another software solution. QuickNotes is an innovative solution that further evidences CIC’s commitment of support for the growing community of Palm users." For more information, contact Communication Intelligence Corporation, 275 Shoreline Drive, Redwood Shores, CA 94065, or by fax at 650-802-7777, or on the Internet at www.cic.com Combining Voice and Handwriting
Emultek Ltd, a supplier of development software for embedded systems products, recently announced that its RapidPLUSTM family of products will now bundle voice and handwriting technologies, as a result of a recent agreement with Advanced Recognition Technologies (ART). The agreement means manufacturers will now have voice and handwriting recognition simulation solutions for product development. The company believes the RapidPLUS software suite has become the first simulation software for embedded systems products to encompass both handwriting and voice. "By incorporating voice and handwriting recognition capabilities into RapidPLUS, Emultek is giving RapidPLUS additional capabilities to provide a market-leading complete solution," said Emultek CEO Shalom Daskal. RapidPLUS reduces the time to market and development costs of embedded products in electronics, automotive, telecommunications and aerospace industries with its engineering and automated procedures. For more information about Emultek, contact the company at http://www.emultek.com. For more information about ART, contact http://www.artcomp.com fonix Acquires Papyrus
fonix corporation recently completed the acquisition of the Papyrus group of companies. Papyrus develops and markets printing and cursive handwriting recognition software for PDAs, mobile phones and pen tablets. The Papryus handwriting recognizer is an integral part of Psion PDA, the market leader in Europe. "With the completion of this acquisition, the people at Papryus are looking forward to immediately implementing the fonix vision of making human interaction with computers more simple and convenient," said Bill Kania, president of Papryus. "Our expertise in handwriting recognition and systems integration combined with fonix’s strengths will position us to penetrate the fast growing Internet and embedded systems markets." Papryus’ Allegro handwriting recognition software provides nearly 100% accuracy, is easy to learn and use, and unlike many other recognizers, does not require users to memorize a new alphabet, according to Papyrus. Unlike voice recognition, handwritten input is private and allows the user to listen or converse while taking notes. For more information, contact fonix at www.fonix.com ART for Windows CE
Advanced Recognition Technologies (ART) also recently announced it is developing software for the Windows CE operating system, Handheld PC Professional Edition. ARTrecognition's combination of voice and handwriting recognition software will provide the human user interface for the Handheld PC and Palm-size PC devices. Users can write anywhere on the screen in any size on a H/PC, using multiple strokes in your own handwriting with ARTrecognition for Handheld PCs. ARTrecognition supplies a mighty macro feature that allows the user to insert unlimited strings of text with a user-defined gesture or symbol. Users can insert text signatures in e-mail or customized boilerplate text into documents. By taking advantage of the microphone on H/PCs supporting the H/PC Pro Edition software, ARTrecognition will supply powerful voice-command features that will speed up productivity in the field, on the road, or in the office. With a voice command, the user can open files and applications, dial or read telephone numbers, display contact and calendar information, retrieve e-mail, send voice mail via e-mail, insert unlimited text macros, minimize windows, empty the recycle bin, and more. ART's patented noise filtering algorithm refines the voice input, prohibiting outside noise from confusing the command. "ARTrecognition caters to the end-users by supplying very natural and simple tools which utilize the touch screen and microphone on Windows CE, Handheld PC Professional Edition-based devices," said Rick McCaskill, ART's executive VP and general manager. "It's more convenient and saves so much time to use your own handwriting or voice to perform tasks that are done repeatedly, such as looking up a contact, launching an application, or retrieving e-mail." "By supporting this optimized operating system for H/PCs, ARTrecognition will empower mobile professionals to stay connected and to be instantly productive, all while using the familiar Windows interface," said Jonathan Roberts, general manager, consumer appliance group, Microsoft. For more information, contact Advanced Recognition Technologies at 805/581-3994 (fax); Brenda Hoffmann, 805/581-3999 ext. 105, brenda@artcomp.com, or Mark Malloy, 805/581-3999 ext. 115, mmalloy@artcomp.com. ParaGraph Ships CalliGrapher for Windows CE
ParaGraph, a division of Vadem, recently announced the availability of CalliGrapher(R) 5.2 handwriting recognition software for the Windows CE operating system through on-line resellers. CalliGrapher is a "universal" recognizer that understands how people normally write: natural cursive, print, and mixed cursive and print handwriting. Based on fuzzy logic and neural network techniques, it recognizes dictionary and non-dictionary words and arbitrary symbol sequences. CalliGrapher is user-independent, can be used immediately without training, and does not require users to memorize special symbols or change their writing style. CalliGrapher 5.2 has many new features, including Letter Shape Selector Utility, which allows users to tune the program to their personal handwriting style. CalliGrapher 5.2 is available immediately via the Internet distributors, Buydirect.com, Digital River, and Windows CE Online. The price for the CalliGrapher 5.2 is $49.95 (online electronic version). For more information about Vadem, please visit the web site at www.vadem.com. Orasis from Dauphin
The Orasis is a pen-based, hand-held computer featuring a Pentium MMX processor, lithium Ion batteries, an electromagnetic pen, 2 meg video memory, and a docking connector for optional expansion devices. Orasis can be either pen, voice, or keyboard-activated. Its hand-held convenience and wireless capability permit instant communication with central terminals along with rapid information retrieval and processing. Dauphin believes Orasis is the perfect field data collection tool, offering voice and GPS (Global Positioning System) capability to promote accurate navigation and handwriting translation, signature capture and on-the-spot sketching capabilities. For more information, contact Dauphin Technology, Inc., 800 E. Northwest Hwy., Suite 590, Palatine, Ill. 60067, or phone 847-358-4406, or contact them on the web at www.dauphintech.com. First Digital Notepad from Cross Pen
The Pen Computing Group of A.T. Cross Company has recently begun shipping its CrossPadTM portable digital notepad, which bridges the gap between paper and the PC. CrossPad transforms how users store, organize, and share notes by writing in ink on a standard pad and uploading their handwriting directly to the PC. As a PC file, the user’s digital notes can be filed, reorganized, faxed, e-mailed, printed in handwritten form or converted to standard ASCII text for use in virtually all Windows 95 applications. "The Cross Pen Computing Group and our technology partner, IBM, are extremely pleased to have reached this important milestone with the introduction of a new product category, the portable digital notepad," said Robert Byrnes, CEO of the Cross Pen Computing Group. For more information, contact Cross Pen Computing Group, 1 Albion Road, Lincoln, RI 02885, or bbyrnes@cross-pcg.com.