FANDOM


German version

Dasher_(EN)

Windows

2000 / XP / Vista / 7

Linux

Compile

Mac

OSX 10.5

Writing languages

All but Chinese and Japanese

License

GNU / GPL (free)

Link

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/

Actual version

4.11

Dasher is a writing-tool that lets the user write text without the need to click the mouse. Its working methods allow for a much faster writing than for example an on-screen-keyboard.

Prerequisites

  • ability to move the mouse arrow

Functionality

Dasher has quite a different appearance and workflow than traditional typing/writing solutions and is thus very practical in situations where there's no keyboard available or where the user cannot use one because of a physical disability. Because Dasher uses a prediction algorithm it can anticipate what the user might want to type next, and shows the respective characters of the predicted words earlier than the character symbols that are less likely to be needed. Dasher is able to learn and therefore is capable of adapting its behaviour to the writing habits of the user.

When using Dasher it is not necessary to exactly type char by char, it is rather a way of following the flow of chars until the word is complete. When writing with Dasher the user doesn't need to move the mouse arrow very exact.

Describing the way Dasher works is not an easy task; the easiest way would be to see it as a stack of drawers. There are as many drawers as there are character symbols in a given alphabet and in each of the drawers is another stack of drawers with all the chars of the alphabet, and so on. The prediction algorithm makes the drawers that are more likey to be needed bigger and those which are rather unlikely to be needed smaller or even unseen until the flow has gone a bit further.
The drawers not only contain chars but also punctation, special characters and numbers. These are located within drawers of a distinct color in order to make them easier to navigate to. The longer the user writes and the more the prediction can be adapted the more it becomes possible that the most probable char-drawers are shown at once so that there appear complete words the user just needs to navigate to.

How to control Dasher?

Dasher can be controlled by an eye-tracker, a mouse, a trackball, a trackpad, a touchscreen, a joystick, a headmouse, a key-mouse, just anything that can recreate the function of a mouse.

Demonstration video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vQ42u7LZD0&feature=plcp

The methodology

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d6yIquOKQ0

Some advice

  • Don't let the first impression keep you from an earnest tryout of Dasher. It may look difficult but it is very easy once you get used to it.
  • You can change the speed of the flow of chars in the options-menu and you can prevent it from automatically adjusting the speed.
  • You can delete chars by moving the mouse arrow to the left.
  • It is possible to edit text in the text-area of Dasher.
  • You can either write in the program’s mini-editor or directly into other applications.

Website

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/

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