Monday, November 10, 2008

Better iTap Learning

iTap (or T9 for you Nokia fans out there) is a widespread predictive text technology for cell phones, typically used when composing text messages (SMS). Each key on a cell phone's keypad is labelled with 3 (or 4) letters and, as you're pressing one number at a time, the phone tries to figure out which permutation of the sets of letters is most likely to be the word you are writing.

Of course, it always helps to integrate your own personal touch: new predictive text technologies actually learn from the words that you type. The newest versions even go so far as to record combinations of words and propose them to you when you're typing in case you want to repeat the same phrase. Very helpful stuff. But all this is done only based on what you write.

But what if the cell phone were to learn from your received text messages as well? Chances are you and your friends' vocabularies are pretty close. This potentially doubles the amount of learning material and therefore doubles the learning speed. Also, by associating the learned information with a particular correspondent, the device can make intelligent choices about the words it proposes to you. (You probably didn't mean to text "whats up dawg" to your mom.)

Motorola, hire me so I can implement this for you.

1 comment:

Allan Button said...

You would have to very carefully tweak the learning curve for something like this.

I get a lot of message from Twitter, the icanhascheeseburger feed.

Needless to say, if this phone started learning the "LOLspeak" from those messages, this might not be the result I'd want.

I do like your idea of a different vocabular set depending on who you are sending the message to. When I text incompany, I would like my phone to assume I am not going to curse or use shortforms. But when I am texting anybody else, don't "censor" it.

My phone has contact groups, how about learning based on group aswell. Build as many associations as possible.

This got me thinking, which is hard to do on a monday morning.

- Allan Button