ADVERTISEMENT
See Inside June 2007

The Write Type

Character Recognition

Electronically scan a book to import its content into a word-processing program. Save a snippet handwritten on a personal digital assistant (PDA) screen into a spreadsheet. Decipher a scrawled form or the zip code on an envelope. In all these cases, software translates typed or handwritten characters into digital text that can be edited, e-mailed, stored or used to tell a high-speed machine which direction to route a letter.

That software was originally known as optical character recognition; today the term refers just to recognizing text from a typeset page. Analyzing printed or cursive handwriting is called intelligent character recognition. Regardless of labels, the programs rely on similar algorithms to assess the features of an inkblot. The programs then compare the blot's features against mathematical models to determine which letter or number it most closely resembles.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content


It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com.
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

1,200 Articles

Order Now - Just $39! >

X

Email this Article

X