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T9 STRIKES BACK

The newest idea for smartwatch texting looks just like your old flip phone

  • Michael Tabb
By Michael Tabb

Video journalist

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

T9-word may be making a comeback: Researchers at Dartmouth College have created a new technique for typing on a smartwatch that looks unnervingly similar to the archaic text messaging system used by early cell phones.

It’s all based on a keyboard where letters are arranged alphabetically around a circular watch face. By moving their wrists, users direct a pointer toward each letter they want to select.

Of course, smartwatches are small, so it’s pretty hard to accurately choose individual letters. That’s why the researchers designed the interface to work with a sophisticated auto-completion algorithm, which figures out what you’re trying to type.

Watch the video above to see it in action.

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