Typing text messages on the mobile phone via the tiny soft keyboard is very cumbersome. How about simply writing it into the air! This idea drove the development of “airwriting” made by computer scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) Germany. Sensors attached to a glove record hand movements, a computer system captures relevant signals and translates them into text, hich could then be input into an email, text message, or any other type of
The glove is able to detect hand movements via integrated accelerometers and gyroscopes. That data is wirelessly transmitted to a computer, which starts by using pattern recognition software to determine if the movements are actually the result of airwriting, or if the user is simply doing something such as cooking.
Once it’s determined that letters are indeed being drawn, the computer then sets about identifying the individual letters. The program incorporates statistical models of the unique signal patterns for every letter in the alphabet, and can account for differences in individual writing styles.
The system can recognize complete sentences written in capital letters and presently has a vocabulary of 8000 words. “The system has an error rate of 11%. When it is adapted to the individual writing style of the user, the error rate drops to 3%,” Doctoral student Christoph Amma, who developed the technology says.
Christoph Amma, now hopes to miniaturize the sensors to the point that the glove could be replaced by something less impractical to everyday use, such as a wrist band. Alternatively, he also envisions the hardware being incorporated into a smartphone – in that way, a single hand-held device (the phone) could be used both to detect hand movements, and to process the data.
Airwriting technology could additionally be used to interface with mixed-reality devices such as Google Glass, claims Amma, eliminating the need for any extra device with a touchscreen or virtual keyboard.