History of Pen and Gesture Computing:
Copyright © 20211022 08:44:22 EDT
Annotated Bibliography in On-line Character Recognition,
Pen Computing, Gesture User Interfaces and Tablet and Touch Computers
This posting is an annotated bibliography focused broadly on touchscreen and gesture user interfaces,
on-line character recognition (a.k.a. dynamic character recognition, a.k.a. pen and touch computing),
both hardware and software. It has been a continuing work-in-progress since the 1980s.
It includes references on related technical topics I have encountered in my career: for example PDAs/highly-portable computing,
cryptographic communications, signature verification, biometric authentication, and digital rights management (DRM).
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 areas of
digitizer tablets, touchscreens, character recognition, touch/gesture user interfaces,
multi-touch computing, passive and active tactile feedback, touch and proximity sensors,
augmented reality, haptics, context-dependent intrepretation of user input, and applications including the same.
It covers the time period from approximately 1887 / 1891 (first electronic tablets with "touch" input and a display),
through 1914 (first electronic gesture/handwriting-recognition input and user-interface system),
to the first handwriting-recognition tablet device connected to a modern electronic computer in 1957 (the "Stylator")
and the more famous Rand Tablet (1961),
to the present day.
As with any subject, the focus has modulated over the decades, and this bibliography follows these topics both forward in time, and historically back in time.
Tablets and touchscreens have evolved into a variety of pointing devices, into PDAs and smart-phones, locating and gesturing sensors with three-dimensional input with six degrees of freedom, and more.
For example, there are no real lines between touch sensing for robotics, touch and contact sensing for user human input, fingerprint sensors, and touch and proximity sensing in general.
Likewise, there are no real lines between haptics for touchscreens, haptics for instrumentation, and biometric feedback.
Earlier work on handwriting recognition, with handwritten symbols sometimes used for command input as "gestures",
has evolved to be part of a much broader range of gestures, including in-air and 3D gestures.
Command user interfaces have merged with direct manipulation, and then with graphical user interfaces and virtual reality.
Authenticating handwritten signatures has evolved to additional forms of dynamic biometrics.
Haptic feedback has evolved from "simple" force-feedback to encompass audio, tactile, and visual signaling.
Virtual reality systems seem to have waxed and waned, and waxed again.
It is, indeed, a rich and complicated field, in all its aspects.
- This compilation and all annotations are copyright © Jean Renard Ward, 1992, 1996, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021.
- Permission is hereby given to link to these pages, or to cite or use this information in publication,
including confidential reports, provided notice of the source is given as stated below along with the full URL of this page.
|Source:||Annotated Bibliography in On-line Character Recognition, Pen Computing,|
| ||Gesture User Interfaces and Tablet and Touch Computers, and related topics|
| ||Copyright ©Jean Renard Ward|
For convenience, this bibliography is in sections by date of reference:
When was Pen/Tablet Computing invented?
I find the very early references to technology interesting.
- Interactive real-time handwriting/gesture user-interfaces, with a user writing with a stylus, go back to before World War I:
- 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 the term "electronic ink", as far as I know).
- 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 handwriting recognition software is pretty good?
... consider this:
- There were many claims of "near perfect" handwriting recognition algorithms in
the earliest days of touch/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.)
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