Shoo Fly Shoo

Recently I purchased the Fly Fusion Pentop Computer, just because it looked so cool (and I had some spare money to spend).

It is pretty cool.

To get best handwriting recognition out of it, you do have to print in a fairly clear manner, which I can, though it is a bit of an effort and slows me down as I consciously try to form the various letters. On the other hand, the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology is pretty good if you print nicely. If you don't then it is a bit of a mess.

Below are two samples of writing: one done in nice tidy print, the other in my usual scrawl.

It does quite well with the first sample and horribly with the second. Obviously my normal upper case block printing is pretty hard on the OCR. And it certainly doesn't seem to like the way I prefer to form my letters. It may have helped to be sitting at a table rather than lying on my stomach on the bed scribbling away, but, then again, it is the portability I want.

An interesting observation is that the strokes are more segmented than my actual writing is - making it look as though I have a shaky hand when I write. I am not sure if this is a result of the way the Fly encodes my strokes, or perhaps I am rotating the body of the pen as I write, thus introducing distortion in the recording. For example, the opening R in Rowan has smooth curves in the captured image and on the page. The f in five is very segmented in the captured image, but smooth on the page. It seems even worse in the second sample. I will upload scanned samples of the pages this weekend.

Fly Captured SampleOCR Result
Rowan had invited his friends over three days earlier, His home was a mansion situated in the centre of
• 25 acre lot, five acres to a side, in an exclusive part of town. He had purchased up all the adjoining properties It had not been that difficult because with Rowan money didn't just talk, he could make it sing.

Persuading the city to rezone the land, to close off roads and redirect roads was a little more challenging, but nothing
• new museum, park and endowment couldn't help assuage.
[Pretty good if you ask me]
Recently, Ts Fascists Erg THE F<y Fusion PENTOP COMPUTER,

THERE is A p/z--7=c-72.2--71 ilsnnarz OF WRITING To Engulfs BESTPSSS, is↳ RECOGNITION. HOWER, since IT 1), FFERS FROM My osuna Sanwa, i Hsiu To SLOWDOWN.

A 󰀀1󰀁 cy ⇐ o=c-H/d K<M

No Paths to ✓ WXYZ

an b a def g. h ij k Imp opz-

-£ a ✓ a xy,

• i 2345678;

Ta can also print in a manner that is reasonably close to the way the F<y system wants me to, but there are challenges, such as my desire to join certain letters as is write.
[This is mostly crash and burn.]

An even cooler looking pen is the Pulse smartpen, but I will hold off purchasing it until I see how indispensable the Fly Pentop Computer becomes.

The main downside of the Fly is that it is a little bulky.

I think one of the actresses on the Fly page is Kelly Vitz who played Magenta in Sky High.

The actress for the Pulse smartpen is wearing lenless frames, which I found annoying (not that the chatter of the Fly kids was wasn't annoying also).

Image samples copyright Richard of Forbidden Planet.

Fly Fusion Pentop Computer image nabbed from here


b said…
The first sample really is very good. Do you find it really tedious to write that neatly on a consistent basis? For me, if I'm trying to get thoughts from my head onto paper at the moment I'm thinking them, I have to write fast and it is almost always a mess. That's why I have all these post-it notes and loose paper with ideas/thoughts scribbled on them. Otherwise, I can write pretty neatly but I can be overly focused on writing neat at times, which takes much attention away from what I'm thinking.

I think it is curious that when writing "purchased," the Fly captured "fascists." :) What's that all about?!
Barbara said…
You would get along well with my husband, who is the geekiest person I know. He just bought ANOTHER Apple, this one just under 3 pounds!
Richard said…
breal: writing slowly and deliberately is a bit painful. I think it would help if the pen was a little smaller and lighter. I may try running my handwriting samples through other OCRs and see what comes out. I am not sure which OCR Fly used to do the conversion. There is also an OCR built into the pen which works as you write.

As you can see, my free flowing, upper case block printing really stymied the OCR. On the other hand, slowing down a bit, allowed better recognition. It is just a question of learning how to form the letters. As a left-hander, letters like J are problematic because of the descended inward curve. If you look at my handwriting sample, you will notice that my upper case J looks like a backwards L because it is easiest to write that way (try it yourself, if you are right handed, to draw a backwards J with the curved loop. Then try to write a backwards L. You will find the L very easy to do, but the J will be a struggle.

barbara: I am not really a gadget freak, I still prefer books, but, sometimes if the price is right, I am willing to check out a new piece of technology. I most definitely am not on the cutting edge of the technology curve. I am not even on the cutting edge of ideas.

I do confess that I am drawn by the latest, newest, shiniest piece of technology, but, practically, I know it provides little advantage over my existing hardware. I like to see at least a 5x - 10x performance difference when upgrading computers - 10% faster does not cut it for me.
aka R'acquel said…
I'm still trying to make sense out of this product - can you just buy the pen or does it need a specific kind of laptop for it... i'll have to follow this up - can think straight as my son's been struggling with handwriting so much that i'd better call my parents to hang-ten on the new laptop for Aidan's 7th birthday.

Might enable the speech recognition in MS word again in the meanwhile. ;D
Richard said…
aka r'acquel: it requires a special type of paper printed with what is effectively a 2D barcode to allow positioning the pen on the page (actually, it allows positioning the pen within various notebooks too). As far as I know, the software runs only on Windows, not the Mac.

I don't know how easy it would be for a young child to play with it. I wanted to get JJ printing with it this weekend, but didn't get around to it. As well, he is doing cursive writing in school, not printing (and with a fountain pen to boot). I was curious to see if the pen was too big for him to hold and effectively manipulate. Maybe over Easter weekend.
I need the computer software that I can just speak into!
Richard said…
MOI: I think every person is different has their own way of doing things. I prefer to type directly into the computer since I do a lot of on the fly editing. The only time I use a pencil and paper is when I am just grossly sketching and outlining. I am not finding the pen as useful as I had hoped. I would feel awkward dictating to my computer. While I do carry on lots of conversations in my head, they are not publicly expressed, so speaking my inner dialogues would leave me feeling naked.

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