How to input text in VR: QuickWrite using a TrackIR

QuickWrite is an input method created by Ken Perlin so that “you shouldn’t ever need to pick up the pen (ie: no clicking, only gliding).”
I really like this input method and think it might be useful for symbolic input in VWs.

So today I played in Virtools with the idea of using Natural Point’s TrackIR as an input device. Of course any 3DOF (it needs only 2DOF) tracker would fit (the Wii-mote for example).

Here’s a video (slightly higher quality (6.4mb) ) of my experiment. I’m quite a beginner at this input method but it’s really easy to learn and write fast.

The 3rd dimension could be used to switch the output characters (uppercase, numerical, punctuation etc).

Read on for more infos about QuickWrite.

How does it work?

You can try the concept here.

“The position of each printed character in the small square corresponds to how that character is drawn. Each printed character is positioned in one of the eight outer zones (its major zone), and also at some relative position within this zone (indicating its minor zone). To draw a stroke, you move the stylus from resting zone 5 to the character’s major zone, then to the character’s minor zone,and finally back to resting zone 5. If the major and minor zones of a character are the same, then to draw the character you need only to move the stylus from resting zone 5 out to the character’s major zone and then back again.

For example, the letter f appears in zone 3 (the top-right zone). This is its major zone, indicating that you begin to draw the letter f by moving the stylus from the central resting zone 5 to zone 3. Furthermore, the printed f is situated in the top-center of its major zone. Since the top-center zone is zone 2, this indicates that the character has minor zone 2. Therefore you finish drawing the letter f by moving the stylus into zone 2, before returning it to resting zone 5. We say that the drawing code for f is 32. “

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