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New Touchscreen Technology Like Writing On Paper 123

An anonymous reader writes "A company claims it has the technology to make writing on touchscreens more like writing with pencil and paper, when the harder you press the thicker the line you produce. The technology uses a material called Quantum Tunneling Composite (QTC), the resistance of which is extremely sensitive to pressure, unlike today's touchscreen phones, which might be fine for basic finger-pointing, but they are poor at gauging the pressure of the touch. The hope is that this will be useful in Asia for handwriting recognition, because Asian scripts use a lot of variation in line thickness. Interestingly, screens with a standard 2D touch matrix can get the extra measure of control using a narrow strip of QTC down the side."
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New Touchscreen Technology Like Writing On Paper

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  • Two words: (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Cycon ( 11899 ) <steve [at] theProfessionalAmateur...com> on Friday January 29, 2010 @05:41PM (#30955554) Homepage

    ...iPad Pro.

    The first iteration is geared around media consumption.

    Perhaps a second line will integrate technologies like this for media creation.

    Either way expect something like it running Adroid.

  • Re:Or (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bragador ( 1036480 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @05:45PM (#30955618)

    Oh wow, you are trolling, yet opening a very interesting subject. I'm in!

    Chinese characters do not unambiguously indicate their pronunciation, even for any single dialect. It is therefore useful to be able to transliterate a dialect of Chinese into the Latin alphabet, for those who cannot read Chinese characters. However, transliteration was not always considered merely a way to record the sounds of any particular dialect of Chinese; it was once also considered a potential replacement for the Chinese characters. This was first prominently proposed during the May Fourth Movement, and it gained further support with the victory of the Communists in 1949. Immediately afterward, the mainland government began two parallel programs relating to written Chinese. One was the development of an alphabetic script for Mandarin, which was spoken by about two-thirds of the Chinese population; the other was the simplification of the traditional characters—a process that would eventually lead to simplified Chinese. The latter was not viewed as an impediment to the former; rather, it would ease the transition toward the exclusive use of an alphabetic (or at least phonetic) script.

    By 1958, however, priority was given officially to simplified Chinese; a phonetic script, hanyu pinyin, had been developed, but its deployment to the exclusion of simplified characters was pushed off to some distant future date. The association between pinyin and Mandarin, as opposed to other dialects, may have contributed to this deferment. It seems unlikely that pinyin will supplant Chinese characters anytime soon as the sole means of representing Chinese.

    So, they once wanted to modernize everything and emulate the westerners, but now they want to protect their own identity and culture. Their way of writing is not worse or better, it is simply different and based on other principles.


  • Re:Or (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jfjfjdk ( 1260722 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:43PM (#30956416)

    Their [ideogrammatic] way of writing is not worse or better, it is simply different and based on other principles.

    This is unambiguously false when measured by utility. Ideogrammatic scripts take longer to learn, are slower to read and write, and mostly convey no information on pronunciation. There are numerous studies (child development, comprehension timing, etc) if you're curious about this topic. Why they persist is an interesting historical question, but there were several strong movements to eliminate them for both Chinese and Japanese in the 1860-1960 period.

  • by henrypijames ( 669281 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:59PM (#30958788) Homepage

    First of all, "Asian scripts" is a totally bogus term: East Asian scripts (Chinese and derivatives, aka CJK), which are logographic [wikipedia.org], has no relation whatsoever with other Asian scripts (e. g. Mongolian, Thai, Indic, Arabic etc.), which are alphabetic [wikipedia.org] and very much related to non-Asian alphabetic scripts (e. g. Greek and derivatives like Latin).

    Second of all, neither the CJK scripts nor the other Asian scripts has a stronger emphasis on line thickness than non-Asian scripts. Including line thickness as an additional parameter would certainly improve OCR for CJK, but no more than it would for any other script.

  • by Cyko_01 ( 1092499 ) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:39PM (#30959098) Homepage
    why does the screen need to be pressure sensitive? the primary application of this technology is for handwriting and sketching. Wouldn't it make more sense to add a spring for resistance and make the tip of the pen pressure sensitive rather then recreating the entire writing surface?
  • by rig_uh ( 1733306 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:29AM (#30959680)
    >> The hope is that this will be useful in Asia for handwriting recognition, because Asian scripts use a lot of variation in line thickness

    Hmm, I get the feeling that this is 99% what a western company thinks they want in Asia, and 1% possibly actually desirable over here. I'm reasonably familiar with Chinese, Japanese and Korean and they're all happily represented by fonts with no line variation. Hand-painted calligraphy or some of the fancier fonts are about the only place I've seen line variation used.

    I've also yet to meet a Chinese person (other than the older generation who very rarely use a computer) who prefers to input their Chinese characters by drawing them. For everyone I've met, from my wife, to her family, my friends, and my colleagues, they all prefer to input it as some form of pinyin (using latin characters), as it's not only faster but also because a lot of them have been doing it for so long they've forgotten how to write many of the characters (at least, without pausing to think about it). They also all use standard pens to write hand-written notes, which have, you guess it, no variation in line thickness.

    There might be useful for other scripts I'm not so familiar with though (such as Thai or Arabic - although I bet they write their hand written notes with standard pens, too), although usually the markets the companies producing this stuff are after are those I've described above - China, Korea and Japan.
  • Nah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:41AM (#30959956) Homepage Journal

    >>This is unambiguously false when measured by utility. Ideogrammatic scripts take longer to learn, are slower to read and write, and mostly convey no information on pronunciation.

    Eh, you can usually guess how a Chinese character is pronounced. It doesn't look that way to English speakers, but it's true.

    The main difference is if you want your written language to convey how people speak a word, or the word's meaning. Old English is unintelligible to us because spoken language changes over time. However, you can read pretty much anything written after 400AD in Chinese, since the written language has remained the same, with the exception of the abomination that is simplified characters.

    There's actually a lot of utility in this. You can travel to areas where there are mutually unintelligible languages or dialects, and still be able to communicate using written language. If I know Mandarin, I can still write down directions for my Cantonese taxi driver, or communicate with Japanese and (to a lesser extent) Korean people due to the fact that the characters are the same across regional and national boundaries.

    Characters don't work very well with computers though, meaning you have to go through the process of typing in the pinyin for a word and then picking out the right character that you want (since many characters share pronunciation, though less if you can indicate tone as well). However, you end up getting an entire word with one or two characters, so overall an experienced Chinese typist can probably write at around the same speed as an English one. Probably less typos, too.

    The article summary is wrong, though. You don't necessarily have to have a pressure sensitive pad to write characters. My touch input for characters works just fine by figuring out what I'm trying to write, and replacing it with a or whatever instead. Typefaces are pretty much always going to look better than the kindergarten-type scrawl you get from touchpads when trying to enter characters.

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