The edge of reasonable.

I’m completely boggled when supposedly smart people continue in their attempt to reinvent the wheel. Especially when it’s a wobbly wheel in the first place. Yet another pen-based text input system has been developed, this time by the folks over at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human Computer Interaction Institute (a fancy name for a place that studies what happens when ordinary people can’t figure out how things work). The EdgeWrite system uses a square template which is laid over the usual touchpad portion of a PDA, the same area normally used for Graffiti input. While I understand the concept of making input of standard character an easier process for those you have motor impairments, that EdgeWrite is touted as better than Graffiti for users without those same impairments is laughable if only for the fact that the Newton’s built-in handwriting recognition blows any shape-derived input system out of the water. I experienced a particularly good giggle when I read the following passage from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article Text With An Edge: “…the system also could help any user of a PDA who is trying to write while walking or riding in a vehicle – people with so-called situational impairments.” Heh. I think the impairment is called ‘trying to do too many things at once…’

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2 Comments

  1. Bernie
    Posted November 30, 2004 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Grant!

    I’ve always wondered if NOS’s HWR engine was proprietary or if it could be incorporated into another platform. The Palm OS would be almost bearable with the substitution of a Newton type HWR.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted December 8, 2004 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    You have to admit that writing on a bus or other moving vehicle is something that people do and that it can be quite difficult if there is much bouncing. EdgeWrite does a lot to help with that.

    In terms of theory, the speed of any of these technologies (handwriting, Edgewrite, Grafitti) aren’t all that different. I think all come in somewhere around a max of 30+ wpm.

    None of this is to knock the Newton HWR, which I quite like, but I think you’re missing the point on your commentary. I suggest reading the research paper on Edgewrite’s website.