HP "gesture keyboard" for "Indic languages"

Posted by Robert Carnegie , 05/01/2006, 11:19:04 Post Reply   Forum

This (link below) is quite interesting, if not necessarily useful in Latin (Roman) script. It appears to be a stylus tablet peripheral to a PC with at least two modes, pointing device and keyboard for complicated Indian languages. It's been launched for a couple of months, but I just noticed it.

The principal use of gestures with this device - going by the animation which you can download from "Read more about the keyboard" - is to point at a symbol and then draw a modifying stroke or accent on it. The Kannada script is very complicated; with this system, you just draw the accents on the letters, I think, saving a great many pen movements. Strokes are not shown leaving the cell, but logically only the shape of a stroke matters, and not whether it stays inside the box or not.

I'm presuming that a great deal of the implementation of this is done in software on the PC, interrupting the pointing device behaviour of the peripheral and interpreting stylus actions in the context of the letters drawn on the tablet instead. It could be done in the peripheral, appearing as a keyboard to the USB host, but why do that when the PC can take care of it?

I think this would be a nice way to do Fitaly. The nearest I've got to it - other than Tablet PC, of course - is to run Fitaly large-size with a very large pen tablet, and to place a yellow sticky note on the tablet where Fitaly is on screen, so that Fitaly is a useable size on the peripheral. But software which could divert pen actions to the gesture function instead of pointing in the workspace could present the whole of a small tablet as Fitaly. I haven't seen any tablet where you can even map pen actions to an area smaller than the full screen - it seems only to work the other way around, for no good reason (part of the tablet = all of the screen).

Of course, the other approach that I never get around to trying is to take a Palm or PocketPC running Fitaly and use it as the PC remote control.

The next thought is to look at various companies' patent portfolios. It may make a difference that this is in India, although it's Hewlett-Packard in India.

Related link: http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2006/jan-mar/keyboard_release.html

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