The gesture keyboard consists of a graphics tablet with an electronic pen or stylus to capture digital ink and a software layer to recognize the shapes. The layout has base characters laid out and the user writes the modifier (matra) on the base consonant cell using the pen.
It took a year for HP Labs in India to develop the handwriting recognition technology for the keyboard and it has a patent for the character positioning and gestures.
HP claims the keyboard will help address the problem of poor PC and computer literacy among non-English speaking people in developing countries.
It takes just 10 to 15 minutes for a Hindi speaker to get to grips with this gesture keyboard, which was officially launched last month. HP licenses it to a third party and it costs around $50.
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Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.