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New typing interface for touch screens mimics handwriting


December 14, 2010

The 8pen app for Android touch phones offers a faster and more natural text input app for ...

The 8pen app for Android touch phones offers a faster and more natural text input app for small devices, which mimics handwriting and eliminates typos

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A faster and more natural text input app for small devices, which mimics handwriting and eliminates typos. Sounds good? That is what the 8pen app for Android touch phones offers.

The 8pen replaces the conventional keyboard interface on touch screen devices with one that mimics human handwriting. Its use of simple gestures reduces the problem of mistyping that occurs with the classical qwerty layout due to the lack of space on small screens. By having a single reference point, at the center of the screen, the size of the device and of your finger becomes irrelevant. The intuitive nature of the writing motion also allows complete blind-typing without promptive dictionaries.

A faster and more natural text input

Characters are produced by pressing down in the center, entering one of the four sectors, passing through a number of adjacent sectors in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, before returning to the center. The order of the letters along the edges, and the side on which they are placed, indicate the number of sectors to be passed through, and the direction of the movement, respectively. For example, the placement of the letter "a", as the innermost letter on the top edge of the right sector, indicates the associated signature "Center-Right-Top-Center", while to the letter "r", the second letter from the center on the same edge, is associated to the signature "Center-Right-Top-Left-Center". Special motions starting from outside of the center point can be assigned to commonly-used words or phrases – such as a figure-eight being assigned to a person's name.

The 8pen app was released in November by 3qubits – which has some other cool apps on offer including the Glucose counter Glucool, weight-loss aid Weighty, and a BPM counter.


I've tried 8pen (actually, I still have it installed) and while it is quite fluid to use and I'm very encouraged to see developers thinking outside the box on text entry, it's a *really* slow method of 'typing'.

Even after some practice, when I'd sped up considerably, I was still managing only about 8 words per minute, which is a snail's pace compared to what you can quickly achieve with a decent predictive dictionary (read: SwiftKey) - I manage ~30 wpm or more...

Richard Gibson
14th December, 2010 @ 07:59 am PST

Agreed, the standard android keyboard beats this and any of the swipe keyboards beat the socks off it. I use SwipeIT which is a constant pleasure to use and as a bonus has iPhone owners leaning over my shoulder going 'wooo' :)

Facebook User
15th December, 2010 @ 01:57 am PST

er, SlideIT

Facebook User
15th December, 2010 @ 01:58 am PST

Why the hassle when there's better way on improving on direct writing. All we need is simplify and implement some smart predicting characters forming.

15th December, 2010 @ 01:47 pm PST

I'd need an app to teach me how to use that app!

19th December, 2010 @ 12:06 pm PST

Why not just voice to text?

Jim Cochran
20th December, 2010 @ 07:18 am PST

Or, why not just send a voice message?

24th December, 2010 @ 06:45 am PST

@windykites1, A voice message? How novel, and personal too! Next thing you know people will be talking and interacting directly! What will they think of next!

Will, the tink
26th December, 2010 @ 03:42 pm PST
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