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

 
AAPL
$106.86
Apple Inc.
-0.49
MSFT
$45.91
Microsoft Corpora
-0.72
GOOG
$549.55
Google Inc.
+0.22

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

LibreOffice 4.3.3.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
VMware Fusion 7.0.1 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion allows you to create a Virtual Machine on your Mac and run Windows (including Windows 8.1) and Windows software on your Mac. Run your favorite Windows applications alongside Mac... Read more
OneNote 15.3.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.4 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.0 beta 3 - Powerf...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
TextWrangler 4.5.11 - Free general purpo...
TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator's tool. Oh, and also, like the best things in life, it's free. TextWrangler is the "little brother" to... Read more
NeoFinder 6.6 - Catalog your external me...
NeoFinder (formerly CDFinder) rapidly organizes your data, either on external or internal disks, or any other volumes. It catalogs all your data, so you stay in control of your data archive or disk... Read more
Chromium 38.0.2125.111 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Default Folder X 4.6.11 - Enhances Open...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click... Read more
Mariner Write 3.9.3 - Light-weight and s...
Mariner Write is your Mac OS go-to word processing tool! Professional writer, educator or student, Write has all the functionality you need for that important letter, technical paper or research... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

1st & Goal Review
1st & Goal Review By Andrew Fisher on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FOR THE D&D LOVING QBUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad 1st & Goal is a board gamer’s football game, a football fan’s board game, and... | Read more »
French Developer Pated Unveils Seashine
French Developer Pated Unveils Seashine Posted by Ellis Spice on October 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] French one-man studio Pated has unveiled Seashine, “a poetic journey into the abyss.” Players take on the role of a jellyfish strugglin | Read more »
Agents of Storm: Tips, Tricks, and Strat...
Calling all agents: Would you like to see what we thought of this rather pretty base builder? Check out our Agents of Storm review! Have you downloaded Agents of Storm, been bowled over by the graphics, and aren’t quite sure what to do next? Never... | Read more »
Any.DO 2.0 Hopes to Help Manage Producti...
Any.DO 2.0 Hopes to Help Manage Productivity Posted by Ellis Spice on October 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
Base Busters Review
Base Busters Review By Jennifer Allen on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FUN BUT RESTRICTED MIXUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mixing up two forms of tower defense gaming and collectible cards, Base Busters is a fun... | Read more »
Sumptus - Personal Expense Tracker in Yo...
Sumptus - Personal Expense Tracker in Your Pocket 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Finance Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Sumptus - a personal finance assistant in your pocket. It’s an ultimate expense tracker... | Read more »
Meat Factory (Games)
Meat Factory 0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 0.1 (iTunes) Description: Meat factory harks back to the old days of the game and watch. Easy to pick up and play, but hard to score big. With cute visuals... | Read more »
Medford Asylum: Paranormal Case - Hidden...
Medford Asylum: Paranormal Case - Hidden Object Adventure (Full) 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Uncover the mystery of Medford City asylum! | Read more »
Secret Files Sam Peters (Games)
Secret Files Sam Peters 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: [ After the successful iOS release of Secret Files Tunguska, the acclaimed point and click adventure Secret Files... | Read more »
Woah Dave! (Games)
Woah Dave! 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***SPECIAL LAUNCH PRICE! IT DOESN'T COST A LOT OF MONEY!*** Optimized for iPhone 6+! A huge hit at E3, PAX, PAX East, IndieCade... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple drops prices on refurbished 2013 Retina...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on 2013 Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros, with Retina models now available starting at $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and... Read more
New 2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $949, save $5...
Abt Electronics has the new 2.8GHz Mac mini in stock and on sale for $949.05 including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller... Read more
Sale! 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro available for...
 B&H Photo has the 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro on sale for $2649 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $350 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from any... Read more
Mujjo Steps Up The Game With Refined Touchscr...
Netherlands based Mujjo have just launched their Refined Touchscreen Gloves, stepping up their game. The gloves feature a updated elegant design that takes these knitted gloves to the next level. A... Read more
Sale! Preorder the new 27-inch 5K iMac for $2...
 Abt Electronics has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale and available for preorder for $2374.05 including free shipping. Their price is $125 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more
Simplex Solutions Inc. Brings Secure Web Surf...
New York based Simplex Solutions Inc. has announced the release and immediate availability of Private Browser 1.0, its revolutionary new secure web browser developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch... Read more
Save up to $180 off MSRP with an Apple refurb...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
What Post PC Era? – The Mac Bounces Back, Big...
Apple’s fiscal Q4 2014 was an all-time record quarter for Mac sales, with 5.5 million units shipped, representing nearly one million more sales (+21 percent, + 25 percent sequentially) than Apple... Read more
Unpacking The Big Changes At Microsoft – iPad...
The days of product keys and email attachments are nearing an end and Microsoft, though late to the game, is making big strides to keep up, says tech expert Karl Volkman of SRV Network, Inc. Under... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.