Thesis: Entropic Text Editor
Above is a portion of a screenshot from one of my thesis devices. I'm calling it the Entropic Text Editor.
How it works: an analog value is read from a repurposed expression pedal. (This one, specifically.) The position of the pedal is fed into a text editing application, which is programmed to intercept the user's keystrokes. A randomization algorithm is applied to the user's input, on a character by character basis, as the keystrokes occur; the further the pedal is pressed down, the more random the text gets.
The Entropic Text Editor is the simplest implementation of what I see as a class of devices: prepared (augmented and/or constrained) computer keyboards. The hands are free to engage in the familiar act of typing, but another channel of information is added that modifies how the typing works. The artifacts that result from the Entropic Text Editor incorporate not just the literal content of the text, but also a history of the user's gestures.
Here's a PDF exported from a session with the Entropic Text Editor, during which I transcribed Jabberwocky. I coaxed the pedal to the maximum value up until the end of the second stanza, then gradually eased off until the end of the fourth; the fifth stanza is full out, pedal-to-the-metal randomness, and the last stanza has no randomness at all.
See below the cut for images from prototype versions of the software.
Click on any of the images below for larger versions.
An early version, with randomness mapped not to the letter value, but to the size and baseline of the text.
Kind of a crazy transcription of the Gettysburg Address, this time with the value of the letter (somewhat hamfistedly) mutated along with the size and baseline of the text.
A later session with the Entropic Text Editor. It's fun to type the same line over and over with the pedal at different levels.