Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Writing In Air Not Pie In The Sky: Student Device Turns Phone Gestures Into Email

Date:
June 14, 2009
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Engineering students have taken advantage of the accelerometers in emerging cell phones to create an application that permits users to write short notes in the air with their phone, and have that message automatically sent to an e-mail address.

It's a familiar scene in airports and train stations. Hands full with luggage, briefcase, laptop or coat and there's something you need to remember, like the level and row numbers where you parked your car in the deck. What do you do?

Related Articles


Instead of relying on your memory, or finding a place to put all your stuff down to find a pen and paper, wouldn't it be so convenient to simply write "level 4, row H" in the air and be able to retrieve it later?

Engineering students at Duke University have taken advantage of the accelerometers in emerging cell phones to create an application that permits users to write short notes in the air with their phone, and have that message automatically sent to an e-mail address.

Accelerometers are the devices in phones that not only keep track of the phone's movements, but make it possible for the display screens to rotate from landscape to portrait modes depending on how the phone is rotated. These devices are always "on," so there is no additional burden on the phone to use this new application.

"We developed an application that uses the built-in accelerometers in cell phones to recognize human writing," said Sandip Agrawal, electrical and computer engineering senior at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, who with Duke graduate student Ionut Constandache developed the PhonePoint Pen. "By holding the phone like a pen, you can write short messages or draw simple diagrams in the air.

"The accelerometer converts the gestures to images, which can be sent to any e-mail address for future reference," Constandache said. "Also, say you're in a class and there is an interesting slide on the screen. We foresee being able to take a photo of the slide and write a quick note on it for future reference. The potential uses are practically limitless. That this prototype works validates the feasibility of such a pen."

Agrawal, a Pratt Engineering Undergraduate Fellow, received the inaugural Hoffman + Krippner Award for Excellence in Student Engineering for the development of the PhonePoint Pen application. The award, created by the German technology firm Hoffman + Krippner, was presented Tuesday, June 9 during the 2009 Sensors Expo and Conference in Chicago.

While this first generation application permits the writing of short messages or simple drawings, it is only a matter of time before this prototype system will be able to handle larger and more complex air-writing capabilities, according to Agrawal's mentor, Romit Roy Choudhury, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"One of the efforts of our group is to take a fresh look at how people get their information into the Internet," Roy Choudhury said. "We're trying to get past the whole idea of typing on a keyboard or using a stylus to enter information into devices. Many people get discouraged with current phones and their small keys. As phones get smaller, this frustration will only grow.

"And today, especially now in the age of Twitter and micro-blogs, the speed in which you send information becomes more important," Roy Choudhury said. "To be able to write quickly using only one hand would be very attractive to many people."

Although challenges still remain to broaden the capabilities of the PhonePoint Pen, the engineers are confident they can be solved. Currently, air-writers must pause briefly between letters, which can slow the process down and rules out the use of cursive writing. Also, each letter must be written large. These improvements would come as a result of improved algorithms and more sophisticated accelerometers, the scientists said.

"It is only a matter of time before we improve the performance of this application," Agrawal said. "We plan to further augment the pen with real-time feedback, character recognition and better support for drawing diagrams."

Roy Choudhury expects that the PhonePoint Pen prototype will be available for download within the next few months.

Another member of the team was computer engineer Shravan Gaonkar at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Roy Choudhury's research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Nokia and Verizon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Writing In Air Not Pie In The Sky: Student Device Turns Phone Gestures Into Email." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220727.htm>.
Duke University. (2009, June 14). Writing In Air Not Pie In The Sky: Student Device Turns Phone Gestures Into Email. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220727.htm
Duke University. "Writing In Air Not Pie In The Sky: Student Device Turns Phone Gestures Into Email." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220727.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins