Handwriting Goes Hi-Tech
We've seen apps that turn your voice to text, but for many stroke survivors, their voices don't work well enough for these applications. For those who can write but are intimidated by the keyboard, an app that turns handwriting to text can be very useful. Equally useful for the clinician who prefers handwriting notes or transciptions live and doesn't want to type them later, MyScript Memo
is a free iOS app that fits the bill.
MyScript Memo is a virtual notepad that allows you to write or draw using a finger or stylus on a single page. The app provides a choice of paper backgrounds (plain, lined, and grid) and allows you to select the thickness and color of the pen. There are three simple tools to use: pen, eraser, and lasso. The app now includes a wrist rest guard to prevent unwanted marks and more comfortable writing. Additional settings allow users to enter personalized vocabulary for better recognition. If you want to include photos in your memo, the app allows you to import them.
After writing the message, pressing the export button gives users the option to export the page as text, image, or MyScript file. Selecting "text" brings up the text recognition menu to select from over 30 language options and to use the service online (free) or on the device ($2.99 upgrade - perfect for workplaces without connectivity). The handwriting recognition is as accurate as I've seen in apps like this. The newly converted text can now be copied, emailed, sent as a text message, posted to Facebook, imported into Evernote, or tweeted on Twitter.
If the handwriting is especially unique (think doctor's scrawl) or contains drawings or diagrams, there is the option to export the page as an image. That image can then be copied, emailed, sent to the photo album, Evernote, Facebook, or Twitter.
MyScript Memo will store all of your single-page notes, but if you want multi-page notebooks, look at MyScript Notes Mobile for $7.99 on iPad using the same recognition software. It's best to turn off multi-touch gestures before using this app since resting your wrist will often trigger undesired movements.
I have recommended this app to people with aphasia who communicate primarily in writing. Using MyScript Memo, they are better able to reconnect with friends on social media, send important notes to family members via text message, and email drawings and notes to loved ones. As a clinician, I enjoy being able to handwrite a quick note (still faster than the touch-screen keyboard for me) and email it off. It can also be used in therapy for those looking to improve their handwriting, perhaps while learning with a non-dominant hand, to see how accurate the conversion is and which letters still need work. How else could you see this app being useful in speech-language pathology?