Dasher: Innovative Data Entry Technology

Dasher Demonstration

Dasher is an amazing technology for inputting text in the absence of a keyboard interface. When I saw this for the first time it just blew me away. From their website:

Dasher is a zooming interface. You point where you want to go, and the display zooms in wherever you point. The world into which you are zooming is painted with letters, so that any point you zoom in on corresponds to a piece of text. The more you zoom in, the longer the piece of text you have written. You choose what you write by choosing where to zoom.

Dasher is being developed by the Inference Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.

This really has to be tried to be understood well. I believe an interface very similar to this will be finding its way onto handheld devices in the very near future. It’s currently in active development for handheld devices and there are videos of Dasher being demonstrated on an iPaq.

As if this functionality weren’t enough, the team is also working to develop mechanisms for people with disabilities to reach high-speed and high-accuracy levels by innovating multiple interfaces to control Dasher including tracking eye-movements, using large buttons, and breathing as an input method.