MDEIE Project with IMADOC, Rennes
An MDEIE (Quebec's Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade) funding was recently awarded to Prof. Cheriet as Project Leader of SynchroMedia Consortium, under a unified international research initiative.
This project deals with the editing and understanding of online handwriting collaborative annotations. The aim of this research is to reproduce the pen and paper metaphor with the augmented functionalities provided by electronics. In recent years, there has been some progress and novelties might be noted in online handwriting acquisition devices, from the smaller ones (smartphones) to the larger ones (whiteboards), and also in interactive pen displays. These new devices have required the design of new human-computer interfaces, as well as dedicated recognition systems. The objective of this collaborative research program is to develop multi-stage architectures, new recognizers, linguistic post-processing, and user adaptation in order to improve the performance of online handwriting recognition systems. For training and testing such systems, databases available now (Unipen, ICROW-2003, SamPDA, Hands-x from TUAT, IRONOFF, IAM On-Line) will be used. Artificial data can also be generated by simulators. For example, virtual offline characters synthesized from online characters or writer-dependent online handwriting can be generated. Moreover, the new idea of online construction and understanding of composite documents and drawings has emerged. Development of the offline approach (lazy learning) and the online approach (eager learning) is still ongoing. But the full automatic understanding of composite structured online input using a pen-based interface is still an open problem and a challenge. The replacement of the classic keyboard and mouse devices by pen interfaces for many applications is still in its infancy, but it seems reasonable to assume that the move towards mobile and pervasive computing and communication devices will be a major success. Clearly, a great deal of research is still needed, which will be the aim of this collaboration project.