Keyboardless Text Entry
Keyboardless text entry methods and systems are described. Various display tools are used in conjunction with, for example, pointing, scrolling and/or clicking actions to enter text into an interface. Once display tool is a pie widget shape, another display tool uses a box like shape containing other box like shapes which are scaled according to a propationate chance of containing the desirable selection.
This application is a divisional application of Ser. No. 11/063,630 filed on Feb. 23, 2005 and is related to, and claims priority from, U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/546,750, filed on Feb. 23, 2004, entitled “A Zoomable Interface for Keyboard-less Text Selection and Entry”, the disclosure of which is incorporated here by reference. This application is also related to, and claims priority from, U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/546,847, filed on Feb. 23, 2004, entitled “Pie-Widget Keyboard-less Text Entry”, the disclosure of which is incorporated here by reference.BACKGROUND
The present invention describes systems and methods for keyboardless text entry on a display for a wide variety of consumer electronic devices such as TVs, PCs, touch screens and interactive kiosks.
Technologies associated with the communication of information have evolved rapidly over the last several decades. Television, cellular telephony, the Internet and optical communication techniques (to name just a few things) combine to inundate consumers with available information and entertainment options. As the amount of information available increases, the need to access and use this data has grown. Not only the overall amount of information available to the consumer has grown, but the variety of devices that are interactive, such as, PCs, TVs, and PDAs, have also grown. To easily enter alphanumeric data, keyboards are typically used on PCs a legacy of the typewriter. However, as more and different types of interactive devices become available to consumers, a keyboard is not always the best method of interaction. For example, keyboards suffer the drawbacks of being relatively large, costly, and requiring more skill to use efficiently than many remote control devices. To solve this problem, methods of keyboardless text entry have been created.
One example of keyboardless text entry is a touch screen where an image of a standard (i.e. QWERTY) keyboard is displayed on the screen. This solution benefits from providing a familiar layout for users and removing a physical keyboard, but suffers from other drawbacks. For example, the user's hands may obscure displayed outputs as he or she enters text by touching keys displayed on the virtual keyboard.
Another example of keyboardless text entry is a system where keystrokes are drawn with a stylus on a touch pad. These drawn keystrokes are then translated into alphanumeric characters and displayed. Some drawbacks associated with this method are the need to enter multiple keystrokes for some of the characters, and the need to learn the strokes that match each character. Yet another method of keyboardless text entry is entering text using a voice recognition device (as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,629,077). In this method a voice input is matched to a voice command template and if a valid input is received, a corresponding character is input to a consumer electronic device. Drawbacks associated with this method include a lack of robustness in a noisy environment and the potential for extensive training of detection software.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide keyboardless text entry systems and methods which minimize or avoid the drawbacks associated with the keyboardless text entry systems described above.SUMMARY
Systems and methods according to the present invention address this need and others by providing techniques for keyboardless text entry. According to one exemplary embodiment, a method for entering characters into an interface includes the steps of displaying a text entry tool having a center and a plurality of sectors relative to the center, each of the sectors associated with at least one character, selecting one of the characters by selecting an associated sector; and entering the selected one of the characters into the interface in response to a predetermined event occurring subsequent to the selection step.
According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an interface input method includes the steps of selecting one of a plurality of objects provided on a display, the selected object being associated with at least one character from a first group of characters, zooming into the selected object, revealing a plurality of additional objects, each associated with one character from a second group of characters, the second group of characters including those characters which are potentially selectable given said at least one character from the first group and selecting one of the plurality of additional objects to enter a text into an interface.
According to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an interface input method includes the steps of displaying two rows of keys proximate an edge of a display screen, each key being associated with one character, selecting one of the keys, displaying the one character associated with the selected key in a text box on the display screen; and displaying candidate items for selections in a display area beside the two rows of keys, wherein the candidate items for selection are chosen based on text displayed in the text box.
The accompanying drawings illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention, wherein:
The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. The same reference numbers in different drawings identify the same or similar elements. Also, the following detailed description does not limit the invention. Instead, the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims.First Exemplary Embodiment Pie Widget Text Entry Interface
The present invention provides methods and systems for easily and efficiently entering text using a pointing and/or scrolling device in combination with a visual display. According to a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention a “pie widget” is displayed on a television, computer monitor or any other output screen and can be used for, among other things, text entry without the need for a keyboard. A conceptual illustration of this keyboardless text entry tool is shown in
The exemplary pie widget 100 has a plurality of unique wedges or sectors 202, as also shown in the magnified view of
For a character to be chosen using the pie widget 200, a user selects a sector 202 associated with a character. According to exemplary embodiments described herein each sector 202 is associated with only a single character such that a user enters each character by selecting a single sector. However those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is equally applicable to embodiments wherein more than one character or a range of characters are associated with each sector. Various techniques can be used to perform character selection using the pie widget 200. According to one exemplary embodiment, once a cursor 212 is stationary for a predetermined amount of time, the character associated with the sector in which the cursor is located or associated with is selected. For example, an invisible line can be drawn between the cursor 212 and the center point of the pie 204. The angle associated with this line is then compared with the angles associated with the predetermined sectors (e.g., θ1-θ8 in the example of
Note that the perimeter 208 of the pie widget 200 need not limit the selection area for the cursor 212. Alternatively, any cursor position on the display may fall within a predefined sector and could be used for character selection and entry (possible exceptions to this include invalid areas such as the text box and the word list box described below and show in
The pie widget can, according to one exemplary embodiment, be implemented as a circular pie menu with the characters arranged around the pie widget 300 as shown in
The timer 310 can be adjusted manually with the horizontal slider located below the scrollable word list box 306. Alternatively or additionally the timer value can be automatically adjusted based on user behavior over time and be displayed numerically as in
According to exemplary embodiments of the present invention, as each character is selected it can be inserted to the left of the text box cursor. As shown in
According to exemplary embodiments of the present invention, multiple words can be entered.
According to some exemplary embodiments of the present invention, remote control devices which are used in conjunction with the pie widget 300 may have a scroll-wheel 110. The scroll-wheel 110 can be used to perform, among other things, one or more of the following three operations: (1) scroll the text box cursor 304 in the upper text box 302; (2) scroll the selection in the text list box 306; and (3) scroll the pie menu slice selection. Initially the wheel is associated with the text box 302. To change the wheel association to a different Graphical User Interface (GUI) object, the wheel can be pressed as a button. Thus, pressing the scroll wheel 110 will change the scroll wheel association to a different GUI object, e.g., the text list box 306. Pressing the scroll wheel 110 again will shift the association to the next GUI object, e.g., the pie widget 300. Pressing the wheel once again will return the association back to the text box 302. When associated to the pie widget 300, rotating the wheel will change which sector is selected. According to one exemplary embodiment, after the character “Z”, the next rotation of the wheel selects the center of the pie widget 300. Pausing on the center circle will reset the text entered. The timer can work in this mode in the same manner as previously described for a character selection behavior.
According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, characters can be inserted and deleted anywhere in the text box. The location of the insertion or deletion is controlled by the location of the text box cursor. The user controls the location of the text box cursor by rolling the scroll wheel. Each click of the scroll wheel will move the text box cursor left or right by one character position.
According to some exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the pie text entry widget can also include a text-to-voice feature. The toggle button labeled “speak” as shown in
According to another exemplary embodiment, text can be easily and efficiently entered without a keyboard using a pointing and clicking device in conjunction with a zoomable interface with a visual display. According to these exemplary embodiments of the present invention, a pointer is moved, and a box, for example, containing text can be selected. When the box is selected, the screen zooms in on this selection. The graphics around the box will fade or move toward the display edge as the selected item grows and new graphics (representing subsequent potential selections) will be displayed inside the growing selected box. This zooming action can be repeated as required for each selection until a word (or selectable GUI object) is identified.
A display containing various GUI elements works in conjunction with a zoomable, keyboardless text entry interface, as shown in
The user moves a pointer 1008 to select the letter or range of letters that begins their desired word. When the user selects a shape using a selection device such as a mouse or other pointer, the selection window zooms into that shape independently from the main view and reveals other letters, words or phrases which are potential subsequent selections. Selection can occur using any of a variety of methods such as, for example, clicking the selection that is currently being pointed to or using a timer as described above with respect to the pie widget embodiments. Zoomable keyboardless text entries according to these exemplary embodiments reveal subsequent selection options by zooming between different magnification levels. The selection options can, for example, be subsequent character choices or ultimate word or phrase choices. For example,
According to other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, words can be entered by using only a pointing device as shown in
In another exemplary embodiment of the current invention, the user may need to select from a large list of text items, such as movie names, artists, music album names, phone directory listings, business listings, etc, or the user may need to enter arbitrary text. In the former situation, the user can be presented with a selection window in its zoomed out state. From here the user proceeds to click on the beginning letter or letters of the item that they want to find. In response, the interface animates a zoom operation into the shape containing the letter and reveals a next set of letters or a list of items. The user can then select the desired item or press a go back control to return to the top level zoomed out state. The latter situation is very similar, except at each zoom level, the interface presents subsequent letters that could be concatenated to the word. The display areas of these letters can also correspond to their probability of being next. In addition, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is equally applicable to embodiments wherein multiple zoom options could exist, e.g., zoom in, zoom out, zoom to any previously viewed level, or partition the screen to show multiple zoom levels simultaneously.
In another exemplary embodiment of the current invention, the size of each selection shape 1020 is proportional to the likelihood that an available word represented by that selection will ultimately be the word that is selected. This could result in a different shape size than embodiments which size the shape based solely on the number of feasible words represented by that selection. One example of shape sizing using this criterion is sentence entry. At a point in a sentence, many adjectives may be appropriate (feasible), but the number of nouns may be relatively few. Since a user is more likely to pick a noun over a long string of adjectives, the nouns can be represented with larger rectangles. A process that tracks the context and semantics of the environment in which the selection is being made could assign likelihood values to each of the feasible words represented by the selection. This would enhance the experience by improving the prediction of what the user's most likely selection would be. This could be further extended to symbols, numbers, icons, and mixed case letters, etc.
Based on one or more predetermined criteria, e.g., ultimate probability of selection or raw number of feasible selections, the shapes (e.g., rectangles) can be drawn on the screen using a number of different techniques at each zoom level of the text entry tool. One such technique involves using a treemap algorithm to perform the shape sizing based on the predetermined criteria. An exemplary treemap algorithm is known as a “quantum treemap” algorithm, which is described in the article entitled “Ordered and Quantum Treemaps: Making Effective Use of @d Space to Display Hierarchies” by Benjamin B. Bederson et al., ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), Volume 21, Issue 4, October 2002, pp. 833-854, the disclosure of which is incorporated here by reference. Using this algorithm, the number of word or letter choices available at a particular zoom level in the zoomable, keyboardless text entry interface can be separated into bins so that the ratio between the largest to smallest bin is less than roughly a factor of 3 (although this factor can be adjustable) and that the number of bins is limited to a predetermined maximum. These features prevent the treemap algorithm from generating rectangles that are too small to target with a pointing device.Third Exemplary Embodiment Rows of Keys with Result Display
According to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention two rows of characters can be displayed proximate the top of a screen that can be used for text entry purposes without the need for a keyboard as shown in
The two rows of characters displayed in this exemplary embodiment are text with a few additional characters. Text characters predominate this exemplary keyboardless text entry interface, since (for some applications) text is the predominant entry type and minimizing the total number of choices will speed up entry. For cases when other entries are needed, a backspace button 1400, a blank space button 1402, a back button 1406 and an expand button 1404 are included in this exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The backspace button 1400 erases previously entered text selections in the display box 1408. The blank space button inserts a space in the display box 1408. The back button 1406 replaces the current display results with the previous display results and corresponding text entry in display box 1408. The expand button character 1404 allows access to other characters such as numbers, symbols, etc, by displaying one or more additional rows of characters (not shown).
Systems and methods for keyboardless text entry according to exemplary embodiments of the present invention can be performed by one or more processors executing sequences of instructions contained in a memory device (not shown). Such instructions may be read into the memory device from other computer-readable mediums such as secondary storage devices. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in the computer-readable medium and/or memory device causes the processor to operate, for example, as described above to handle keyboardless text entry. In alternative embodiments, hard-wire circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement the present invention.
Numerous variations of the afore-described exemplary embodiments are contemplated. For example, other exemplary embodiments of the present invention can contain such features as a vocabulary not limited to any particular set of words (characters, symbols, etc.), and a dictionary assist on words entered. The above-described exemplary embodiments are intended to be illustrative in all respects, rather than restrictive, of the present invention. Thus the present invention is capable of many variations in detailed implementation that can be derived from the description contained herein by a person skilled in the art. All such variations and modifications are considered to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention as defined by the following claims. No element, act, or instruction used in the description of the present application should be construed as critical or essential to the invention unless explicitly described as such. Also, used herein, the article “a” is intended to include one or more items.
1. A method for entering characters into an interface, comprising the steps of:
- displaying a text entry tool having a center and a plurality of sectors relative to said center, each of said sectors associated with at least one character;
- selecting one of said characters by selecting an associated sector; and
- entering said selected one of said characters into said interface in response to a predetermined event occurring subsequent to said selection step.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein each of said sectors is associated with one and only one of said plurality of characters.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said step of selecting one of said characters further comprises the step of:
- positioning a cursor over said associated sector.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said step of selecting one of said characters further comprises the step of:
- moving between said plurality of sectors using a scroll wheel.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said predetermined event is expiration of a timer which starts after said associated sector has been selected.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein said timer has a value which is manually adjustable.
7. The method of claim 5, wherein said timer has a value which is automatically adjustable based on a user's previous character selection behavior.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the text entry tool is circular and contains the letters “A” to “Z”, each of which are associated with one of said plurality of sectors.
9. The method of claim 3, wherein the cursor can be positioned outside of an area contained within a perimeter of said text entry tool to select a character.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of:
- displaying characters as they are entered in a text box; and
- displaying a list of potential text entries based on previously entered characters
11. An interface input method, comprising the steps of; a second group of characters, said second group of characters including those characters which are potentially selectable given said at least one character from said first group; and
- selecting one of a plurality of objects provided on a display, said selected object being associated with at least one character from a first group of characters;
- zooming into said selected object;
- revealing a plurality of additional objects, each associated with one character from
- selecting one of said plurality of additional objects to enter a text into an interface.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein said objects have a rectangular shape.
13. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of:
- displaying each object with an area that is proportional to the probability of that object being selected.
14. The method of claim 11, further comprising the steps of:
- displaying each of said objects at a first magnification level; and
- zooming into said additional objects by changing to a second magnification level.
15. An interface input method, comprising the steps of:
- selecting one of a plurality of objects provided on a display, said selected object being associated with at least one character from a first group of characters;
- zooming into said selected object; and
- revealing a plurality of additional objects, each associated with a subsequent selection that is related to the selected at least one character.