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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dasher: Information-Efficient Text Entry System


Above short clip was a fast forwarded video from Google TechTalks 2007 with the following summaries:

Keyboards are inefficient for two reasons: they do not exploit the redundancy in normal and they waste the fine analogue capabilities of the user's motor system (fingers and eyes, for example). I describe a system intended to rectify both these inefficiencies.

Dasher is a computer accessibility tool enabling users to enter text efficiently using a pointing device rather than a keyboard, for example,

- when operating a computer one-handed, by joystick, touchscreen, trackball, or mouse.
- when operating a computer with zero hands (i.e., by head-mouse or by eyetracker).
- on a palmtop computer.
- on a wearable computer.

It has been likened to an arcade game, since to use it you zoom through characters that fly across the screen. It uses a probabilistic predictive model to give priority to more likely character combinations.

Dasher can be described as a back-to-front version of arithmetic coding, a data-compression algorithm.

Users can achieve single-finger writing speeds of 35 words per minute and hands-free writing speeds of 25 words per minute.

It takes advantage of Fitts' law – the fact that larger areas can be selected more quickly than smaller areas.

Dasher is licensed under the GPL. It is available for several platforms including Linux, Microsoft Windows,Pocket PC, and there's even a little java version for your web-browser.

So if this get you hooked :) , see the full 54mins video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5078334075080674416
and Try Dasher in your browser right now!

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