Huffman scanning: Using language models within fixed-grid keyboard emulation

Brian Roark, Russell Beckley, Chris Gibbons, Melanie Fried-Oken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Individuals with severe motor impairments commonly enter text using a single binary switch and symbol scanning methods. We present a new scanning method-Huffman scanning-which uses Huffman coding to select the symbols to highlight during scanning, thus minimizing the expected bits per symbol. With our method, the user can select the intended symbol even after switch activation errors. We describe two varieties of Huffman scanning-synchronous and asynchronous-and present experimental results, demonstrating speedups over row/column and linear scanning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-1234
Number of pages23
JournalComputer Speech and Language
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Binary coding
  • Language modeling
  • Text entry
  • emulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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