is working on a new type of computer interface,
with the goal of replacing the traditional keyboard as a text input device.
According to the
Dasher is an information-efficient text-entry interface, driven by natural continuous pointing gestures. Dasher is a competitive text-entry system wherever a full-size keyboard cannot be used.
Dasher is designed for use on palmtops and wearable computers.
It supports one-handed and hands-free operation. One-handed
input may be performed via a conventional pointing device such as a mouse,
joystick, or touch screen. Hands-free operation involves the use of
a head-mouse or eye-tracker.
The Dasher documentation includes a
three page explanation on the use of the software.
Operation looks a bit like running a video game, a few example
movies of Dasher in operation are included, they illustrate the
use of Dasher nicely.
Tips for Novices section compares the input method to driving
Indeed, you will probably learn Dasher faster if you come to it with car-driving analogies in mind, rather than standard computer analogies. For example, the way navigation works is not by DRAGGING but by STEERING: if cars worked like windows computers, you would have to "grab" the piece of road you want, then "drag" it towards you; but in a car, when you wish to drive right, you POINT RIGHT with your steering wheel.
intended audience for Dasher is for people with disabilities,
the software could also be useful to a wider audience.
Decent typing speeds can apparently be achieved fairly quickly:
After one hour's practice, some users are able to write at more than 20 words per minute using Dasher with an eyetracker.
This looks like fun and useful software.
Version 3.2.0 of Dasher
has been announced.
"This version is the first release of the new stable branch, and is aimed at
the GNOME 2.4 and 2.5 desktops (but will continue to work happily under 2.2).
New features include integration with the GNOME accessibility framework and
gnome-speech, and the ability to enter text directly into other applications."
Dasher is a cross-platform project, the code is available
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