Annotated Bibliography in On-line Character Recognition, Pen Computing, Gesture User Interfaces and Tablet and Touch Computers
This is a posting of a bibliography on on-line character recognition
(a.k.a. dynamic character recognition, a.k.a. pen computing).
I am posting it as a service to those with interest in the field.
It may also be of special interest to anyone investigating
any of the flood of patents in the areas of digitizer tablets, character recognition, tablet-PC GUIs, and multi-touch computing (such as the iPhone and Touch iPod). I have physical copies of most of the papers cited here.
- This compilation is copyright © Jean Renard Ward, 1992, 1996, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011.
- Permission is hereby given to link to this list, or to cite it
provided that notice of the source is given as stated below, that the full URL of this link is included,
and also that you use my correct full name "Jean Renard Ward" is included with any such reference or link.
Permission is hereby given to reproduce any diagrams or photographs in this collection for any purpose (to the extent that the materials are not subject to copyright by persons other than myself), including for the purposes of confidential reports, provided that
accompanying text clearly makes reference to the URL for this page, along with the statement:
"Source: Annotated Bibliography in Pen Computing and Handwriting Recognition by Jean Renard Ward".
The bibliography is broken up into several web pages, for convenience in printing:
When was Pen Computing invented?
Check this out:
Notes on the "unknown" history of Pen Computing
(from a talk given to the Boston Computer Society in 1992)
Note that there is a tendency for major vendors to re-name Pen Computing ("Tablet PCs", "Touch PCs", "Organic User Interfaces" are a few such names), which tends to obscure the historical record a bit.
Who invented Pen Computing?
You may have read something somewhere that indicated some organization like
... had invented pen computing / tablet computing. After skimming through some of the references above, you might start to think some of those claims - particularly those by large corporations - could be slightly exaggerated: for example, inventing an improvement on how do spelling correction [Viterbi67] is not the same as inventing the first graphical word-processing program.
Which is not to say that a particular system did not do some
very interesting new things within the context of pen computing, such as
Note: I find the very early references to technology interesting. For example,
- Handwriting recognition by a machine in real time, with a user writing with a stylus, goes back to before World War I:
- United States Patent 1,117,184, November 17, 1914
- United States Patent 1,311,384, July 29, 1919
- Optical character recognition (from a printed page) goes back to before the days of computers:
- Electronic Tablets were invented in the 19th century:
- United States Patent 461,472, October 20, 1891
- United States Patent 491,347, February 7, 1893
(Note: Elisha Grey is best known in history as the person who may have invented the telephone before Alexander Graham Bell, but lost the patent dispute in a famous and controversial court decision)
- "Electronic ink" (the pen-computing kind, not the electronic display) is older than you think:
- "The RAND Tablet: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication Device", 1964
(Note: This is the earliest published use of this term in pen-computing, AFAIK).
- Language knowledge being used in character recognition:
- The early references to the "Viterbi" algorithm are interesting to compare with more recent inventions on glyphs and context.
- So you think your recognition software is pretty good? ... look at this.
- Another interesting slant is the many claims of "near perfect" handwriting recognition algorithms in
the earliest days of pen computing, such as
(Note: At one of my pen-computing jobs in the late 1980s,
we joked that Dimond had achieved 97%
"perfect" handwriting recognition in 1957,
and that the technology had been getting about 5% better every decade since:
the trend seems to have continued unbroken, like some odd form of Moore's Law.)
You can find almost anything using one of the major search engines on the Internet these days. However, here are some links to other pages with talking about the history of pen computing.
(Please note that links expire, so these may not all be up-to-date.)
Of course, there is information on Wikipedia, but you should be cautious that the information can be biased towards a particular organization.
Mirrors of this page can be found at:
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Last edited: 16-Jun-2006