New typing interface for touch screens mimics handwriting
By Grant Banks
December 14, 2010
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.
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.
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