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The Future of Handwriting Technology

Gary Baum, Vice President, MyScript
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Gary Baum, Vice President, MyScript
MyScript is a global leader in handwriting recognition and digital ink management technology that creates transformative opportunities for applications in mobile, automotive, enterprise and other domains by enabling a truly natural human machine interface.

Until very recently, using a digital stylus has been as limited as using a ballpoint pen on paper. The power of digital computing that we enjoy when using a word processor with a keyboard and mouse simply didn't exist. Most stylus-on-tablet writing, like ink-on-paper writing, is static. You can't edit ink-on-paper text; nor can you commonly automatically search it, easily store copies of it, or simply incorporate it into your daily workflow with other kinds of digital documents.

There is still a long way to go until handwriting technology is fully mature and welcomed by majority of people as just as efficient an input mechanism as a keyboard and mouse. Some of these capabilities now exist in certain handwriting technologies, but aren't widely known and adopted. Other capabilities are still in the future. But we're now very close to a time when handwriting technology is as easy and powerful a way to manipulate digital data as any other. Here are some key characteristics you should look for and expect to see in handwriting technology in coming days:

- Translatable: One of the biggest problems with almost all digital ink solutions today is that they're not easily translatable into digital format. Your computer will store pictures of the words you've scrawled onto you pad, but most handwriting technology doesn't recognize your writing as digital letters, and so can't convert your handwriting into a typical word processing document in a standard font. You're not too much better off than you are writing with a pen on paper. But this will change; handwriting technology in the future will instantly recognize handwriting as letters. It can typeset them and easily combine handwritten content with typed content in a collaborative document. Handwriting technology will not only be able to translate handwriting into digital characters, but it will also be able to translate your writing into other languages where appropriate and work on multiple platforms and all kinds of machines.

- Recognizable: Most digital ink, like ink on paper, is understood by a computer system as simple ink-stroke input, a series of meaningless shapes and not actual content - i.e., most handwriting technology today doesn't attach meaning to handwritten words. What we are beginning to see now, and will see more of this in the future is technology that not only has the ability to record handwritten strokes accurately but to actually understand the meaning of words and phrases.

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