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History of Dasher

Who's who

  • Dasher is brought to you by the Inference Group, led by David MacKay, who is a Professor in the Department of Physics and cofounder of the information technology company, Transversal. David MacKay created the first Dasher prototype in 1997.
  • David Ward developed the research version of Dasher from 1998 to 2002; for his PhD, David turned Dasher into a working software system, created numerous enhancements to it, and conducted experiments to quantify how well it works. David now works for Spiral Software, Cambridge.
  • Alan Blackwell, a lecturer in the Computer Laboratory, helped us design the experiments.
  • Phil Cowans and Tim Hospedales have also made contributions, especially to the eyetracking work.
  • During Summer 2002, the Open Source software package was prepared for release by Iain Murray. Iain started a PhD in computational neuroscience at UCL in October 2002.
  • Phil created Dasher version 3 for GNU/linux. Hanna Wallach worked on version 3 for the ipaq running linux.
  • In December 2002, the Dasher project received funding from the Gatsby foundation to support Matthew Garrett as project manager and developer. The project is also being joined by experts from the free software community, to contribute further enhancements and carry out the ports to a wider variety of computer platforms.
  • During 2003-2005, Chris Ball took over as project manager and developer.
  • Keith Vertanen develops Speech-Dasher (2003-2007).
  • During Summer 2005 several programmers joined the Dasher project. Tadashi Kaburagi contributed the Asian language model for Dasher version 4. Brian Williams added game-mode for version 4. Chris Hack added automatic speed control for version 4. Ingrid Jendrzejewski did experiments on Button Dasher. Frederik Eaton fixed a cursor-display problem.
  • From October 2005, Piotr Zielinski joined the Dasher team as developer of Ollie Williams's gaze-tracking, head-tracking, and gesture tracking software, and developer of two-dimensional Dasher.
  • From January 2006, Phil Cowans is Dasher project manager and developer.
Dasher on ipaq

Versions of Dasher

The principal working versions of Dasher are as follows:
Version 4.0.* - for GNU/Linux and windows. (Released October 2005)
Supports any unicode alphabet. Includes Asian language support, button modes, game mode, automatic speed control.
Version 3.0.* - for GNU/Linux and windows and MacOSX.
Supports any unicode alphabet. All major languages of the world are supported.
Version 1.*.* - C and tcl - for GNU/Linux and windows desktops.
Uses ppm as the language model. Driven by mouse.
written by David Ward.
Version 1.*.* supports several European languages and Japanese (Hiragana). English version can support capital letters and lower case. This version's language model can be instructed both by loading an example input file and by loading a dictionary of valid spellings.
C - for pocket PC
Driven by stylus on touch-screen.
written by David Ward.
This version includes capital letters, numbers, and a number of punctuation characters. Only English is supported.
Version 2.*.* - C - for GNU/Linux and windows desktops
Version 2.*.* supports English, upper and lower case, punctuation and numbers.
dasher + Eye-tracker
Driven by mouse that is controlled by eyetracker.
written by David Ward.
Daishoya (JDasher)
Japanese-language version of Dasher (Hiragana) - included in the C and tcl version
tcl - Original prototype
Demonstrates the relationship to arithmetic coding; includes a crude bigram language model.
written by David MacKay.
Runs on all platforms that support tcl (GNU/Linux, windows, some browsers).

A more detailed history of Dasher is available on request from David MacKay.

We've also got links to other groups working in the same field.

The Dasher project is supported by the Gatsby Foundation
and by the European Commission in the context of
the AEGIS project - open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards)

Site last modified Sat Mar 19 12:11:40 UTC 2016