This Software May Decipher Even Your Doctor's Scrawl

For years, computer researchers have tried to perfect a way to enter information into PCs by writing on the screen. A number of PCs have been introduced that purport to recognize handwriting, but the accuracy rate is poor, and all require users to print block letters.

IBM says it has found a better way. The company's new ThinkWrite Unconstrained software, unveiled at the recent Comdex show in Atlanta, recognizes mixtures of cursive and block letters, which is the way many people write. Instead of trying to decipher individual letters, ThinkWrite looks at entire words, then checks them against an electronic dictionary. That increases its accuracy rate to more than 95%--after the software is "trained" to recognize a user's handwriting. Think-Write works with Go Corp.'s PenPoint operating system, and versions for Microsoft's Windows and IBM's OS-2 are due out later this year.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.