On Monday, Microsoft Research said it will give Rhode Island’s Brown University $1.2 million over the next three years to develop software for recognizing complex handwriting and gestures, the Associated Press reports via Boston.com.
A number of computer systems already process handwriting, such as credit card readers.
Brown is currently working on applications that can interpret lettering and symbols of increasing complexity, for use in such areas as math, chemistry and music, according to the AP.
These types of programs are useful because it’s often more intuitive for users to write or spell out what they want than to have to click a mouse to get it.
“In some cases, the pen is mightier than the keyboard,” Andries van Dam, Brown’s vice president of research, told the AP.
The collaboration was announced at a press conference on Monday afternoon, according to the AP.
The contribution from Microsoft will allow Brown students and staff to collaborate to develop new ideas for the handwriting-centric technologies, the AP reports.
“The center is an example of the kind of research environment that will drive new and exciting work in the future,” Richard Rashid, Microsoft Research’s senior vice president, told the AP.
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