What is handwriting recognition ?

Hand recognition is the ability of a computer to receive and translate human writing into text by writing directly into a device, or scanning written text.

The first hand recognition technique ever used is called “optical character recognition” or simply OCR. It allows users to scan in handwritten texts into basic, easily accessible and searchable digital forms. Most scanning suites include some type of OCR.

OCR was followed by the on-line recognition technique in the 1990s. When Apple Computers developed a handheld device known as the Newton, the handwriting recognition interface has become widely available for every Newton user. The device included a small stylus, which people use to write directly into the screen and have the characters recognized and converted into digital text.

Since Apple’s Newton did not recognize handwriting patterns efficiently, Palm developed their own handwriting recognition device known as the Graffiti. With Palm’s device that relied on line-strokes to define stand-ins of letters written, it provided a more effective system in distinguishing letters and identified user’s variations. Hand recognition was also used in Microsoft’s Tablet PCs, which involved a more extensive database of character variations. However, mainstream consumers did not appreciate hand recognition techniques…yet.

Today, with cellular phones and PDAs with stylus inputs becoming mainstream, hand recognition software is becoming popular again and many companies are working on perfecting hand recognition.

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