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This paper describes earliest (more importantly, first), man-machine-interaction (MMI) technology called “Sketchpad” by Ivan E. Sutherland (According to Dr. Hammond, Sutherland was recognized as the father of the sketch recognition). The sketch pad was capable of drawing sketches according the movement of a light pen (for position trace) and using a push button to say a specific function (turn on and off switches) to execute. This way the sketchpad system said to be eliminated typed statements (so far we are still using typing, but its’ OK the paper dates back to 1964 with the original idea) in favor of line drawings.
The authors demonstrated its intended use of light pen with a novel idea of using pseudo pen location to detect where the intended location that the pen needs to be aiming at. The paper explains its displays are using straight line segments, circle arcs and single points as the basic (or fundamental) design symbols for its sketchpad displays. The authors also discusses the use of display abstraction to support in drawing properties, like similar length, similar size etc using constrains.
The sketchpad is an important finding for the sketch recognition domain (I mean the idea of sketch/gesture recognition), and I believe it makes totally a new era of human computer interaction. How important this area of research going to be for our day today life or to the near future, readers can look at your own pocket (touch phones, touch pads, touch media players etc). For the moment we are using some sort of gesture input for these devices, and we can expect whole new way of interactions (May be you can look at “Microsoft's Vision of the Future” video just to get a clue).
It is an interesting idea of having a pseudo pen location for segments where a light pen is aiming at. But as of my opinion, when it comes to heavily multi-stroked gestures/sketches, the system tends to fail due to cross-mapping of pseudo pen location (it is possible to map the pen location to a wrong place due to multi-strokes already sketched on). I’m not clear how the authors solved this problem in their related work (any thoughts???).
Most of the future works of the paper are in successful outcomes (in my personal opinion), and the concept of sketching using an input device is outdated (for the purpose of creating an electrical circuit or complex drawing etc.), there are already number of software products to do all these drawing stuff (like smartdraw).
Find the paper here.