Any chance of having OCR for Gregg Shorthand?

I know there have been posts on technology but i am wondering if having OCR for Gregg is possible.  It would seem easier in some ways than regular handwriting because the penmanship for shorthand is more strict.  Obviously there isn’t a huge demand for this but i am curios if those of you who are technically minded could chime in on the possibility of creating this technology.

The reason i ask is i spoke with a court reporter who said that though in that particular state pen shorthand is certainly allowed it might not be as desirable due to the real time nature of the modern steno systems.  That got me thinking about how cool if a court reporter were using a digital pen and if there was this technology able to turn the shorthand into type in almost real time.   WIth either system there still be editing needed.
Just curious,

(by Ryan for group greggshorthand)


19 comments Add yours
  1. You'd have to have a pretty steady hand to form outlines that were so consistent they could be read by an OCR program.

    The program I use can barely distinguish type accurately (it's just one of those things — like my missing jetpack — that convince me we're not living in the future quite as much as some would suggest).

  2. Longhand and typing have a lot of redundancy. Shorthand does not (hence the speed). Also, the program would need to learn individual hands even more. (An M from one writer, N from another, MN from another, and NK from another.)

  3. I would assume that one would go through notes and tell the program what the mistaken words are.
    How does redundancy matter with regard to a computer program. I would argue for more accuracy because you would build in word and phrase vocabulary rather than just letter recognition.

  4. For an OCR program, it matters because it can recognise a letter by looking at not just (say) 3 features but rather (say) 30.

    So if some of the features of the shape on the paper are hard to make out, it still has a fighting chance of identifying the right letter by the remaining ones it can recognise.

  5. When i watched the recent jeopardy where the computer Newton beat the champions it was able to use a technology where it learned as it went. I know this is advanced but it worked by being fed tons of data. If it knew, for example, that something was the letter "s" in any type of font, handwriting etc. it could figure out what an "s" was even if it was not exactly like on entered into its present database. My assumption is that if a computer is told that a shape of any kind equals a certain word or phrase that it could transcribe shorthand input. What would make it more difficult at the level of words is not knowing which to go with when an outline can mean two things. The idea would be tons of input. If it knew what grammatical element was required in the context then it could make the write choice or give the few options for the editor to finally choose.

    As difficult as this might be i assume in some ways it would be easier than regular handwriting. Think of all the ways people write English today. All caps, print, longhand, variations…not to mention slant and sloppiness. With Gregg, you have one slant and one penmanship with slight variations, most of which would be worked out by feeding your notes in and clarifying.

    Anyway, my assumption is that the reason it doesn't exist is not due to a lack of technology but rather a lack of interest.

    What are some reasons that pen shorthand ceased to be the mainstay for court reporting besides ease of transcription? How much more difficult is it to learn than machine shorthand? With machine one enters the field to do reporting. With pen, at least in the past, one had quite an array of options and if he or she was particularly good then reporting was an option.

  6. It sounds like Merlin's research was much like Gregg's — look for high-frequency sounds and combinations, and give them the easy shapes.

    The dyslexia researcher missed a point: Dyslexics often flip shapes. d/b is the classic example, and many find cursive easier since the hand-movements are connected. In Gregg at least, it's entirely connected. "Loop outside the angle and inside the curve" is the natural way to do it, not arbitrary — it feels wrong to do it the other way. "Loop clockwise unless reason not to" is easy for a body to remember. (I wouldn't suggest a dyslexic use Anni, with the reverse-R.)

  7. Looks very broadly similar to the popular German-language shorthand systems such as Gabelsberger, DEK, Stolze-Schrey, and Stiefografie – they also use downward movement for consonants and upward movements/positioning for vowels.

  8. You won't be seeing the "reverse R" principle in Simplified. In summary, what it says is that if there is a circle vowel between a straight line and an R, the R is omitted and the omission is noted by writing the circle counterclockwise, instead of clockwise (hence the name "reverse R"). It is not that the R is reversed: the position of the circle is what is reversed. You can see it more clearly here. In Simplified Gregg, this principle is omitted, as the R is written fully.

  9. When you mentioned the name "Newton", rdbaker, I fondly remembered my old Apple Newton. Oh, how I wish Apple hadn't killed it off, because it did some truly clever things like expand written abbreviations into fully typed-out words. Just goes to show how much the current range of iOS devices are built around consumption compared to the production-oriented Newton.

    So while I doubt software could recognize brief forms, per se, surely some clever pen/tablet/ink input could learn custom written gestures. That falls well short of what you were looking for, though.

  10. Whaddya know? Apple's Ink System Preference has written shortcuts for several common actions that can be invoked if you're using a pen tablet.

    Unfortunately, they're not editable, and bear no resemblance to anything but Cherokee glyphs, so I don't see myself using them anytime soon.

  11. Thanks, but I eBayed away all my iThingies a while back.

    I do bookbinding, so I've surrounded myself with various pads and notebooks and hardcovers for every little project. I bought a typewriter, too, and I even make print copies of e-books, because I find multipurpose devices just shatter my concentration. I'm trying to un-Google my brain.

    1. I find this fascinating..

      Shorthand is more freeform than Arabic script, so it might be a little more difficult to actually recognize the outlines. I might be able to incorporate this into my upcoming shorthand program, though I might have to charge for it; it's hard you know.

Leave a Reply