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'Imaginary Pen' Lets Users Wave Wildly to Write

Imagine walking along, coming up with a brilliant idea, and -- with a few thoughtful hand twitches -- documenting the notion on a wireless device. Neuroscientist Michael Linderman has released data from an ongoing research project in which he documents the muscular movements of six volunteers writing with a pen, thus establishing the feasibility of an 'imaginary pen.' Outfitting his subjects with sensor gloves, Linderman has trained pattern-recognition software to identify the hand motions of his test writers.

Interestingly, Linderman also analyzed how often the computer correctly identified a hand movement as the subject's intended character. When a numeral had been written five times, the program labeled it correctly 63-percent of the time, and when it had been written 35 times, the system was right 97 times out of 100.

While it's difficult to imagine people gesticulating wildly to communicate digitally, we do have several things to note. Firstly, a decade ago, people with their heads down, thumbs typing on a cell phone, would have looked ridiculous. Secondly, this method appears to be more intuitive than earlier forms of sensory writing (e.g., the Palm Pilot's scribe system). Lastly, the gloves Linderman designed are fingerless; just throw a couple of studs on the knuckles, and it's a new fashion. [From: PopSci.com]

Tags: pattern recognition, PatternRecognition, research, texting, top, writing

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