marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Funnily enough, someone was asking about virtual keyboards on gtk-list this morning.

Last week at the MeeGo Conference several people were talking about virtual keyboards, and the idea came up of doing predictive text, either by making more likely letters physically larger, or merely by increasing their sensitivity.

When I came home, I wrote a JavaScript mock-up based on a third-order Markov chain. It's quite fun to play with, especially on a touchscreen.

When I showed this to a few people at Collabora and elsewhere, Rob McQueen suggested avoiding reinventing the wheel by using the rather wonderful Dasher system as a back end. So, after a longish hacking session, here it is:

State of the keyboard after typing "FLO".

Click here to see a video of the keyboard in action

The front end shown here is just a custom GTK widget I threw together; in real life it would use an existing input method. I've exaggerated the differences between letter sizes for demonstration. (As I mentioned above, the physical letter sizes might not change at all.)

There is a wiki page about all this. Let me know if you'd be interested in helping work on this; I'll be releasing the code shortly, and adding a link on the wiki to it. (Odd thought: I wonder how useful another demonstration piece of JavaScript would be, pulling data from Dasher running as a CGI. Let me know.)

There is also an existing roughly similar system for Android, and, I hear, for the iPhone.

Update: An AJAX version you can play with.

Date: 2010-11-24 02:30 pm (UTC)
holzman_tweed: (Default)
From: [personal profile] holzman_tweed
Is touch-typing truly so lost a skill that a keyboard with keys that shifted in size wouldn't actually make typos more likely? (As I write this, I'm not looking at the keyboard, so the bigger size making the key easier to see is moot as well.)

Date: 2010-11-24 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Do you expect anyone to be touch-typing on a virtual keyboard, on what's probably a relatively small touch-screen device?


Date: 2011-09-28 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
i3HGEn Hello! How do you feel about young composers?!...

Date: 2010-11-24 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Watching the video, it feels very slow - select a letter, and wait a couple of seconds for the animations. Is there any reason the animations aren't quicker, perhaps a tenth of a second or less?

Date: 2010-11-24 11:12 pm (UTC)
giveamouse: Chocolate chip cookie (Default)
From: [personal profile] giveamouse
Cool! I use dasher a lot, myself... this looks like it would require more movement than the "aim at the next letter" approach of dasher, but it's always good to have more ideas and experimentation.

Thanks for your work on this!


Date: 2010-11-25 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Not to criticize, but isn't it what's done on the iPhone? I think there is even a patent for that...

Re: gebo

Date: 2010-11-25 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The best I found doing a quick search is this:

Sounds like the patents are Nokia's! :-) That should get you on a better track! :-)

Re: gebo

Date: 2010-11-26 12:28 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
and to see it done wrong, check out "ThickButtons" for Android devices.
Wrong because the keys move around as the sizes change, which means you have to closely watch the keyboard before typing any key! I tried it, it's amusing!

Re: gebo

Date: 2010-11-26 01:31 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
and if you want to see something truly amazing, check BlindType:


Date: 2011-09-29 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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Date: 2010-12-14 12:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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Date: 2011-09-28 07:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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Date: 2011-09-30 04:50 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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Date: 2013-11-02 01:35 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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