Apple patent hints at Macs with stylus-based input system
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apple patent hints at Macs with stylus-based input system

Apple is at least considering a pen/stylus-based input system (as well as voice recognition) for future Macs. A patent (number 7894641) for a method and apparatus for acquiring and organizing ink information in pen-aware computer systems has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

An ink manager running at a computer system receives ink information entered at a pen-based input/display device and accumulates the ink information into ink strokes. The ink manager communicates with a handwriting recognition engine and includes an ink phrase termination engine that is configured to detect the occurrence of one or more ink phrase termination events by examining the ink information.

Upon the occurrence of an ink phrase termination event, the ink manager notifies the handwriting recognition engine and organizes the preceding ink strokes into an ink phrase data structure. The ink manager may also pass the ink phrase to an application executing on the computer system that is associated with the ink information, and it, in response, may return a reference pointer and a recognition context to the ink manager. The reference pointer and recognition context are then appended to the ink phrase data structure. The inventors are Larry S. Yaeger, Richard W. Fabrick II and Giulia M. Pagallo.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Computers, such as personal computers, often include one or more input devices, such as a keyboard and a mouse, that allow a user to control the computer. More sophisticated input devices include voice-recognition input systems and 'pen' or stylus based input systems. With pen-based input systems, the user relies on his or her own handwriting or drawing to control or operate the computer.

These input systems typically include a hardware device called a 'tablet' that is connected to the serial port of the computer. The tablet may include an integrated display screen so that the tablet can serve as both an input and an output device. When operating as an input device, the tablet senses the position of the tip of the pen as it moves across the tablet surface and provides this information to the computer's central processing unit. To provide the user with visual feedback as the pen moves, the computer typically displays 'ink' (i.e., a path of pixels tracing the pen's movement) simulating the ink dropped by a real pen. If the tablet has an integrated display screen, this electronic ink is typically drawn directly beneath the tip of the moving pen. For an opaque, input-only tablet, the ink is typically drawn on a normal computer screen to which the tablet has been 'mapped.'Whether integrated with the tablet or not, the screen typically displays standard computer-generated information, such as text, images, icons and so forth.

"In addition to the tablet, pen-based computers also have a software pen driver that interfaces with the tablet and periodically samples the position of the pen, e.g., 100 times a second. The pen driver passes this ink data to an ink manager that organizes it and coordinates the recognition process. Specifically, the ink manager organizes the ink data into ink strokes, which are defined as the ink data collected until the pen is lifted from the tablet. The ink manager passes the ink strokes to a recognizer that employs various tools, such as neural networks, vocabularies, grammars, etc., to translate the ink strokes into alpha-numeric characters, symbols or shapes. The recognizer may generate several hypotheses of what the ink strokes might be, and each hypothesis may have a corresponding probability. The hypotheses are then provided to an application program which may treat the recognized ink data as an input event.

"With Pen Services for Windows 95 from Microsoft Corporation, ink strokes are organized into pen input sessions. See Programmer's Guide to Pen Services for Microsoft Windows 95 (1995 Microsoft Press). A pen input session begins as soon as the user touches the pen to the tablet and ends when the user taps the pen outside of the writing area (e.g., tapping an OK button) or a brief period of inactivity elapses. A new session begins when the user resumes writing. All of the ink strokes corresponding to a given pen input session are accumulated into a single pen data object. An application program associated with the pen input session can basically choose one of two modes of operation.

"First, the application can choose only to receive the recognition results, thereby allowing the system to process and organize the ink data based on its default settings and to interface with a default recognizer. Alternatively, the application program can request the 'raw' ink data and process it in any number of ways. For example, it can buffer the data to delay recognition or it can throw the data away. This ink data is provided to the application on a stroke-by-stroke basis. If the application wishes to have the data recognized, it passes the raw ink data to the recognizer itself. Any special recognition requirements, such as field-specific recognition contexts (e.g., name, address, social security, or other types of input fields), and any unique affiliations between ink input sessions and specific input fields must also be determined on a stroke-by-stroke basis, typically based upon the first stroke that is received.

"This collection and organization of ink data into pen input sessions on such a stroke-by-stroke basis has several disadvantages. As noted, to associate ink data with a particular data entry field, the system generally relies solely upon the location of the first ink stroke entered by the user. If a pen input area is declared and subsequent strokes extend outside of that area, the system will not associate those strokes with the data entry field, even though the user may have intended these subsequent ink strokes to be a part of that data entry field. Further, if that first stroke is only slightly misplaced (e.g., if the cross-bar of a capital 'T' is drawn first and written too high), the entire subsequent session may be affiliated with the wrong input field. Associating ink with the wrong input field may result in the recognition results flowing to the wrong place, and, if a special recognition context is used for each input field (e.g., name vs. address vs. social security fields, etc.), the wrong context may be applied during recognition.

"Even systems that attempt to improve this situation by using each stroke to determine the input field anew, such as the Apple Newton from Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., can suffer from failure modes that make the situation difficult both for end users and for application developers. For example, a word that accidentally spans two input fields even a tiny amount (due, for instance, to a stray ascender, descender, crossbar, or dot) may be broken up into multiple sessions, causing misrecognition and invalid data entries that must be manually corrected.

"Accordingly, a need exists for improving the way in which ink data is organized so as to facilitate the recognition process and also to improve the association of ink data to particular data entry fields.

"The present invention, in large part, relates to the observation that client applications and handwriting recognition software in pen-based computer systems can make far more accurate ink-related decisions based on entire ink phrases, rather than individual ink strokes. Accordingly, the invention is directed to an ink manager that is designed to organize ink strokes into ink phrases and to provide these ink phrases to client applications. In the illustrative embodiment, the ink manager interfaces between a pen-based input device, one or more applications (pen-aware or not) and one or more handwriting recognition engines executing on the computer system. The ink manager acquires ink information, such as ink strokes, entered at the pen-based input device, and organizes that information into ink phrases.

"The ink manager includes an ink phrase termination engine (which may be partially executed in a pen driver component) that is configured to apply one or more ink phrase termination tests to the ink information. If the termination engine detects the occurrence of an ink phrase termination event, the ink manager performs the following steps in order: 1) finishes organizing the strokes into an ink phrase data structure, 2) optionally notifies the current client application program of the termination event by providing it with the ink phrase, thereby allowing the application to determine a suitable affiliation between the ink phrase and a specific input field, specify a reference context (e.g., a pointer) and request a particular recognition context, if desired, 3) notifies the appropriate handwriting recognition engine, so as to allow it to complete its work and provide the recognition results corresponding to the current ink phrase, and 4) sends the now labeled (i.e., recognized) ink phrase to the application, together with any reference context previously identified by the application (in step 2). To the extent the application returns a reference context and/or a recognition context, they may be appended to the ink phrase data structure.

"Significantly, by passing the as yet un-recognized ink phrase to the application immediately upon phrase termination (step 2 above), the ink manager allows the application to make specific input field and context determinations on a more suitable unit of data than previous systems--a phrase, rather than a stroke. Consequently, the system can associate the user's ink data with the input fields intended by the user more consistently, even if one or more ink strokes (including the first ink stroke) is wholly or partially outside of the input field. The system can also recognize the ink data more accurately due to the use of the most appropriate recognition context, again as determined by the application based on the ink phrase.

"In the preferred embodiment, the ink phrase termination engine applies three ink phrase termination tests to the ink information generated at the pen-based device, and also allows the recognition engine to impose its own phrase termination test. First, the ink phrase termination engine initiates a time-out mechanism upon receiving each ink sample. If the time-out expires before the next ink sample is received, an ink phrase termination event occurs. The value of this time-out is preferably adjustable by the end user. Second, the ink phrase termination engine monitors proximity information acquired by the pen-based input device, and issues an ink phrase termination event when the pen is lifted out-of-proximity from the surface of the input device.

"That is, the input device includes sensors that detect whether the pen, even though not yet in contact with the surface of the device, is nonetheless near the surface or not (i.e., in or out-of-proximity). Optionally, the application associated with the current pen session may supply the coordinates of a pen input area to the ink manager and request the ink phrase termination engine to issue an ink phrase termination event whenever the ink samples move outside of this area. Finally, ink phrase termination events can be triggered by the handwriting recognition engine. In particular, the recognition engine preferably applies a word segmentation model to the ink information it is receiving on-the-fly. If the engine determines that a new ink sample represents the start of a new word (e.g., the new ink sample is on a new line or is spaced a significant distance horizontally from the prior ink sample), then the recognition engine may issue an ink phrase termination event.

"While the ink manager may allow alternative methods of data handling, including stroke-based and even point-based ink accumulation by the client application as well as input-area-based phrase termination, the organization of ink information into ink phrases frees pen-aware applications from the low-level ink collection and handling process, improves the correlation of ink information to specific areas on the pen-based input device, and improves the recognition process."

-- Dennis Sellers

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Path Finder 7.6 - Powerful, award-winnin...
Path Finder makes you a master of file management. Take full control over your file system. Save your time: compare and synchronize folders, view hidden files, use Dual Pane and full keyboard... Read more
Herald 8.0 - Notification plugin for Mai...
Note: Versions 2.1.3 (for OS X 10.7), 3.0.6 (for OS X 10.8), 4.0.8 (for OS X 10.9), 5.0.2 (for OS X 10.10), 6.0.3 (for OS X 10.11, and 7.0.3 (for OS X 10.12) are no longer supported by the developer... Read more
Vienna 3.1.16 :891d05ea: - RSS and Atom...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more
OmniOutliner Essentials 5.1.2 - Organize...
OmniOutliner Essentials (was OmniOutliner) is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually... Read more
OmniOutliner Pro 5.1.2 - Pro version of...
OmniOutliner Pro is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
OmniPlan Pro 3.7.3 - Professional-grade...
With OmniPlan Pro, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success... Read more
OmniPlan 3.7.3 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Adobe Creative Cloud 4.3.0.256 - Access...
Adobe Creative Cloud costs $19.99/month for a single app, or $49.99/month for the entire suite. Introducing Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications, including Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC... Read more
Apple High Sierra 10.13 - The latest OS...
macOS High Sierra introduces new core technologies that improve the most important functions of your Mac. From rearchitecting how it stores your data to improving the efficiency of video streaming to... Read more
ScreenFlow 7.1 - Create screen recording...
ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, microphone and your... Read more

Morphite guide - how to explore like a p...
The much anticipated space exploration game, Morphite, has finally arrived, and we can't get enough of it. The game is essentially everything we wanted No Man's Sky to be. It's a game that puts a heavy focus on exploring foreign worlds, but the... | Read more »
The best visual novels on mobile
Narrative games have been around for ages, but only now have they been creeping into the mainstream spotlight. These games tell some of the industry's finest stories, and they break new ground in terms of gameplay and mechanics regularly. Here are... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
It's pretty much been one big release after another. We were privy to a bunch of surprises this week, with a lot of games we'd been waiting for quite some time dropping unexpectedly. We hope you're free this weekend, because there is a lot for... | Read more »
Stormbound: Kingdom Wars guide - how to...
Stormbound: Kingdom Wars is an excellent new RTS turned card battler out now on iOS and Android. Lovers of strategy will get a lot of enjoyment out of Stormbound's chess-like mechanics, and it's cardbased units are perfect for anyone who loves the... | Read more »
The best AR apps and games on iOS right...
iOS 11 has officially launched, and with it comes Apple's ARKit, a helpful framework that makes it easier than ever for developers to create mobile AR experiences. To celebrate the occassion, we're featuring some of the best AR apps and games on... | Read more »
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of...
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: ************************************************※IMPORTANT※・Please read the “When... | Read more »
Kpressor (Utilities)
Kpressor 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The ultimate ZIP compression application for iPhone and iPad. - Full integration of iOS 11 with support for multitasking.-... | Read more »
Find out how you can save £35 and win a...
Nothing raises excitement like a good competition, and we’re thrilled to announce our latest contest. We’ll be sending one lucky reader and a friend to the Summoners War World Arena Championship at Le Comedia in Paris on October 7th. It’s the... | Read more »
Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story...
Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Another Lost Phone is a game about exploring the social life of a young woman whose phone you have just... | Read more »
The Witness (Games)
The Witness 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you. You don't remember who you are, and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

How to save $200 or more on a new 15-inch App...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A... Read more
9-inch and 12-inch iPad Pros, Certified Refur...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ WiFi iPad Pros available starting at $589. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 32GB 12″ iPad Pro WiFi: $589... Read more
Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $399 $100 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac mini: $599 $100 off MSRP – 2.8GHz Mac... Read more
Snag a Certified Refurbished Apple Pencil for...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Apple Pencils available for $85 including free shipping. Their price is $14 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a Pencil. Read more
12-inch 64GB iPad Pro on sale for $749, save...
Adorama has 12″ 64GB iPad Pros on sale today for $749 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
Apple Certified Refurbished iPad minis availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad minis available today for $339 including free shipping. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included. Their price is $60 off MSRP. Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale fo...
B&H Photo has 2017 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199 $100 off MSRP 12... Read more
Sunday sale: 13-inch 3.1GHz MacBook Pros for...
Amazon has 2017 13″ 3.1GHz MacBook Pros on sale today for up to $150 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXV2LL/A): $1649.99 $150 off MSRP – 13″ 3.1GHz... Read more
Looking for a 2017 12″ Retina MacBook? Save $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple Offering Up To $455 Credit Toward iPhon...
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available at the Apple Store, and you can receive up to $375 credit toward a new iPhone purchase when you trade in your eligible smartphone. Photo Courtesy Apple Just... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Data Center Site Selection and Strat...
Job Summary As Apple 's products and services scale the globe, the Data Center Affairs team works behind the scenes to secure infrastructure for Apple 's data Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Data Engineer - *Apple* Media Products - Ap...
Job Summary Apple is seeking a highly skilled data engineer to join the Data Engineering team within Apple Media Products. AMP (home to Apple Music, App Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.