Annotated Bibliography in On-line Character Recognition,
Pen Computing, Gesture User Interfaces
and Tablet and Touch Computers

(DOI: 10.13140/2.1.3018.8322)

This is a posting of a bibliography on gesture user interfaces, on-line character recognition (a.k.a. dynamic character recognition, a.k.a. pen computing), and related topics, including both hardware and software. I am posting it as a service to those with interest in the field. It may also be of special interest to anyone investigating any of the flood of patents in the areas of digitizer tablets, character recognition, tablet-PC GUIs, and multi-touch computing (such as the iPhone and Touch iPod). It covers the time period from approximately 1891 (first electronic tablet) through 1914 (first handwriting-recognition input system) to the present day.

The bibliography is broken up into several web pages, for convenience in printing:

                  1891 to 1970          1971 to 1975          1976 to 1980          1981 to 1983
                  1984 to 1985          1985 to 1986          1987 to 1988          1989 to 1990
                  1991 to 1993          1994 to 1995          1996 to 1998          1999 to 2000
                  2001 to 2003          2004 to 2005          2006 to 2007          2008 to 2010
                  2011 to 2013                   2014 to 2015          2016 to present                  
         Pictures and Videos                                                                                 

When was Pen Computing invented?

Check this out: Notes on the "unknown" history of Pen Computing (from a talk given to the Boston Computer Society in 1992)

Dan Bricklin has posted a video of the presentation on

Note that there is a tendency for major vendors to re-name Pen Computing ("Tablet PCs", "Touch PCs", "Organic User Interfaces" are a few such names), which tends to obscure the historical record a bit.

Who invented Pen Computing?

You may have read something somewhere that indicated some organization like

                  Microsoft   Nestor   Apple Newton   MicroPad  
                  IBM   PenCept   GO Corporation   Rand Corporation  
                  Linus   PenPoint   CIC   Wacom  
                  GRAIL Casio   Slate   Graffiti  

... had invented pen computing / tablet computing. After skimming through some of the references above, you might start to think some of those claims - particularly those by large corporations - could be slightly exaggerated: for example, inventing an improvement on spelling correction [Viterbi67] is not the same as inventing the first graphical word-processing program.

Which is not to say that a particular system did not do some very interesting new things within the context of pen computing, such as [CarrR91a] and [PenCept85f].

Note: I find the very early references to technology interesting. For example,

You can find almost anything using one of the major search engines on the Internet these days. However, here are some links to other pages with talking about the history of pen computing. (Please note that links expire, so these may not all be up-to-date.)

Of course, there is information on Wikipedia, but you should be cautious that the information can be biased towards a particular organization.

Thank you,

Jean Renard Ward

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