A very cool project –Dasher is a free text input program that uses a pointing device interface. I discovered this when my arthritis was at its worst and I began searching for anything that could help me.
It works like this: You control the speed by lengthening the pointer vector. You drive the vector towards the letter you want next. When you hit that letter you will see certain letter enlarge based on what dasher thinks you will need next.
It takes 30 minutes to learn Dasher. When I did learn it, I could enter text faster than typing.
Dasher is mainly for assisting physically disabled people interact with computers; this, in turn, helps them interact with the rest of us. In these applications the text can be fed directly into Text to Speech software (Text2Speech, T2S) giving these people the ability to talk!
There are joystick devices for people to control with their heads or whatever hand control they happen to have. There are also eye movement trackers; using special glasses and your eyeball you can control the pointer in Dasher. Imagine talking with your eyeball!
People who don’t need it should try it. Solidarity with the physically disabled — Dasher gives them an ability we take for granted. It is a good thing to see how others live.
I don’t need Dasher to input text. Even though I have only used a mouse to write with Dasher and my arthritis doesn’t actually bother my typing ability, I believe I have a better understanding and respect for people who do things despite disabilities. I also appreciate keyboard typing - I don’t take it for granted.
Try it!Dasher Java demo It’s actually pretty fun! Makes writing on a computer a kind of video game experience. Peace to all my disabled brothers and sisters — you are awesome!