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Tap Code

A code similar to Morse code that can be tapped with a finger on a table.
  [vote for,

The problem with Morse code is that it is ambiguous if tapped, because you can't distinguish long and short taps. A code should be invented, that works with tapping. It should be useful, work perfectly and be fun to learn and use. Unlike Morse code you would need no technical devices for training. You could practice it with your friends at a table. And you could use it everywhere where you can knock or tap. Doesn't even have to make a sound, touch is enough.

My proposal would be this code (I wrote a little computer program for it):


But there could be other tap codes, more efficient ones. However keep in mind, that it should be accessible to as many people as possible, not only professional musicians that can tap and discern triples and intricate stuff. So there is also a very human element to this. Also, I'm not talking about the well known POW Polybius square tap code, because it is really inefficient and cannot compete with Morse code.

A Tap code inplace of Morse code could be so much more useful, because it can be used in so much more situations!

Until it isn't internationally standardized I consider this as half baked. At the time of posting this, I am the only person that has ever used it. Maybe it's already perfect, maybe a lot of bakery is still to be done. I don't know.

SeriousParakeet, Oct 05 2012

Tap Code program http://sourceforge.net/projects/tapcode/
definition of a proposed code, demonstration, practicing [SeriousParakeet, Oct 05 2012]

Morse-based tap codes http://answers.yaho...080721163005AADlsG6
Not the most reliable source in the world, but I've run into the same descriptions in multipl other references. [Alterother, Oct 06 2012]


       In your system, how do you show a break between two letters and a break between two words? I didn't catch that from your specs. Is it just a two-beat pause and a three-beat pause respectively?
phundug, Oct 05 2012

       Love this...can you say that in two taps or less?
blissmiss, Oct 05 2012

       Morse is routinely used in tapping communication. Picture the dot or dash as the pause between taps, instead of the tap itself, and it comes through cleanly.   

       And it works exactly the way you describe if you consider a dot to be on the beat, a dash to be a one beat pause, a letter break to be a two beat pause, and either skip word breaks or use a three beat pause. Every morse sender I've ever heard has exactly that sort of rythym to their sending.
MechE, Oct 05 2012

       [SeriousParakeet], welcome to the Halfbakery.   

       ... . .-. .. --- ..- ... .--. .- .-. .- -.- . . - / .-- . .-.. -.-. --- -- . / - --- / - .... . / .... .- .-.. ..-. -... .- -.- . .-. -.--
normzone, Oct 05 2012

       You missed a "."
blissmiss, Oct 05 2012

       Can you paste the basic code and maybe a couple samples in as text here? I went to your link and it looks like I'd have to run your program to figure out how things are actually encoded. I did see what looks like a table of codes near the end of the .bas file, but I'm not sure what the "-", ".", and " " indicate.   

       I always thought that the classic telegraph only transmited taps, not long and short pulses, but I could be mistaken. I couldn't find a definitive answer in a quick search. I can see how it might be hard to distinguish between a letter ending in dash and a word ending in a dot (though I assume there is a slight timing difference), and the last tap in a message would always be ambiguous.   

       In any case, unless your system is somehow very easy to remember (like the Polybius square code), I don't see how it could ever catch on. Despite issues that Morse code may have, there is at least a fairly large number of people who actually know it, which makes spending the time to learn it more likely to be worth the effort. Unfortunately learning Morse code is still a ways down on my to-do list and I'm afraid it may never reach the top.
scad mientist, Oct 05 2012

       phundug, there is a two tap pause between letters and a four tap pause between words. every letter is an even number of taps long. now as a musician you would take a "beat" to be actually two taps (an eighth note). so every letter consists of 1 or 2 or 3 ,... beats (eighth), there is one beat pause between letters and two beats pause between words. the taps correspond to sixteenth notes.   

       blissmiss, a single tap on a special body part could of course be a short for "love this", between two people that like each other.   

       MechE, I don't know Morse, but what about e and t? don't they sound the same if tapped? see, that's the problem I want to solve.   

       normzone, I don't know Morse. and typing Morse or Tap code doesn't really make sense for me, cause both are meant to be used in a time-resolved, rhythm based manner.   

       bigsleep, not sure what your point is. do you think my Tap code is too complicated? it is not more complicated than Morse, and obviously people are able to use it fine, so... or do you mean RS232 would be more efficient? then you're probably right, but it isn't practical for humans to learn or use it. so this trade off is exactly what's the point here.   

       scad mientist, pasting samples would be a formatting problem. the picture in the middle with the code table is really all you need. try to tap it. doesn't matter if you get the rhythm right first time. this will come with practice. indeed you can also identify letters without the perfect rhythm, only by counting the number of consecutive taps and gaps. so, l would be "2,2", m would be "1,2,1" and so on. e would be "1". a child can do it, I have tried it. I don't see why my system is any different from Morse. if anything it is easier in my opinion!   

       with all due respect, Morse lived in a different century! the invention was made for telegraph lines, not for knocking it anywhere. so I really think there's a big wide hole for mankind here, that has to be filled with something.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 05 2012

       A point, and I don't know how it's dealt with, but I know it is.
MechE, Oct 05 2012

       MechE, the prisoners of war (POW) in Vietnam, they knew Morse. they all knew Morse, but they didn't use it to communicate in their prison cells. why do you think this is? not because they were afraid of being overheard. because it doesn't work with knocking.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 05 2012

       Actually, it does. There are several variations; the dash can be represented by a harder, solid knock, by two knocks in rapid succession, or simply by a short pause after the knock (shorter than the pause between characters, but longer than the pause between 'dots').   

       There is a huge amount of anecdotal history concerning POWs using Morse and Morse-based knocking codes to communicate between cells. One American POW in Viet Nam actually sent a secret message to the outside world during his taped 'confession' by blinking in Morse.
Alterother, Oct 05 2012

       Alterother, yes, I know this, but blinking isn't knocking, is it? with blinking you can keep your eye lid closed long or short. also, knocking harder or softer is too weak to work in all situations perfectly. it can be misunderstood too easily. replacing the dash by two dots, there is where you start to come to my side slowly. if you do this, you end up with a code similar to mine. I considered this and compared it to my code, and found that mine is better. I believe if you know Morse and wanted to use the "two dot for a dash" code, you would have to learn it from start anyway. so you could as well learn my code that is especially designed for the purpose.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 05 2012

       Right. Many Morse-based variation knocking codes already exist. Even if yours is unique, it's an individual in a large group of similar peers.   

       I through the blinking POW in there for fun, not because I thought it was relevant. I've just always thought that guy was amazing; he'd been starved, tortured, and living in a 5'x5' cell with no bed or toilet for who knows how long, and he yet he still had the intelligence and determination to teach himself how to say something aloud and simultaneously blink out an entirely different message in Morse cade, not to mention the sheer balls it took to pull a stunt like that in the first place.   

       Welcome the 'Bakery. Do not despair; having your first idea trampled and torn apart at great length and by many different forum members is considered a sign of great promise.
Alterother, Oct 05 2012

       Yes, the POWs are heroes. The last thing I want to do is take away anything from their code or their deeds. But at the same time it makes me angry that they had to resort to such an inefficient Polybius square. I bet if they had known my code they would have used it. Huge effort was made to teach them Morse, and then they couldn't use it when they needed it most! Then they didn't have a code they could use and had to think of an improvised one by themselves. And all because of the misconception that Morse is somehow "universal". It was never intended to be. I will not tire to emphasize this over and over. The Morse code was only intended for messaging through telegraph wire, nothing else. The task of inventing a code for knocking is a totally different one. And that a code comes out that is so similar to Morse doesn't mean that you can use Morse for knocking. They are so similar because both have to do with rhythm (which is universal).   

       Don't worry, I will not despair. I aprechiate your feedback be it good or bad. I mean that's how science works: you try to knock my house down, and if it still stands, then this means something and we have made both progress.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 06 2012

       Erm, Alterother, you said something very interesting there, namely that my code is an individual with many similar peers. Could you show me these peers? Because I seached for them and couldn't find any!
SeriousParakeet, Oct 06 2012

       No, I can't. I do not know any of them, I merely know of them. I'm a big history buff, so I read a great many books written by 'those who were there.' I specifically mentioned that my statements were based on anecdotal evidence. I've read plenty of accounts of prisoners using polybius square tap codes, and plenty of accounts of prisoners abandoning these codes because their captors knew polybius square derivation as well. Were I to spend an afternoon or two going through my library, I could give you three or four titles in which the authors explain Morse-based and other tap codes they created or learned while in captivity. I will not do this, because as any regular forum member can tell you, I am notoriously lazy. If you wish to conduct your own study, I suggest you begin with materials relating to the WWII 'X-organization'.   

       In the meantime, I've found a <link> of questionable authenticity which confirms, more or less word for word, the techniques I described in my first annotation. I suspect the person who wrote it has read the same books that I have.
Alterother, Oct 06 2012

       I'm sorry, but anekdotal evidence doesn't help me. I need to see the codes in order to compare them to mine for efficiency and practicability. I don't know these books, but I bet the codes aren't in there, just stories about them. And even if they are in there, how come that they aren't in widespread use? Probably because they aren't that good. Work only in desperate situations, are not fun, or only for proficient Morse coders. That's all not what I have in mind. My line of thinking doesn't start in prison in war. My line of thinking starts at a wooden dinner table in a cosy civil home outside of prison in peace times, between a boy and his girl friend with whom he is in love. I hope you can see that there's a little difference there.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 06 2012

       // I don't know these books, but I bet the codes aren't in there, just stories about them. //   

       A bet you'd win.   

       // And even if they are in there, how come that they aren't in widespread use? //   

       Because the war is over. Nowadays we just talk to each other or,   

       // at a wooden dinner table in a cosy civil home ... , between a boy and his girl friend with whom he is in love //   

       We waggle or eyebrows and make suggestively vulgar hand gestures when nobody is looking.   

       My best to you and your gal. Love is one of the top five greatest things in this world.   

       PS: if you can see each other across the table, why not just slide your finger sideways for the dash? Or do others in your family know Morse code?
Alterother, Oct 06 2012

       ok, i've looked at your link, thank you, but it's pathetic. don't you understand that my code is much more efficient up to the point where it actually can be used? it's more efficient, because i don't start from the Morse code and then replace something in it, but i start from scratch. maybe if you would mind to try it? it's the picture in the middle on the sourceforge page. again, thank you. i know i may sound disrespectful, but don't be fooled by that. i really aprechiate your feedback.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 06 2012

       haha, yes. i thought you'd ask: "and why would they want to do tap code?" and i would've answered: "because he wants to tap her, but she's sophisticated."
SeriousParakeet, Oct 06 2012

       [SeriousParakeet] The problem of making the letters and words easier to distinguish is not new. Long time ago I had an interest in taking the challenge to optimize phonemes of an artificial language so that the words would be both easy-to-pronunce and hard-to-confuse with other words.   

       What approach did you take to come up with the codes for letters that would make them least hard to confuse with other letters? I.e., is there a justification for each letter to have the code you assigned, and not another code?
Inyuki, Oct 06 2012

       I agree, the link is pathetic. I found it after you started pressing me for citation, and I put it up only because the answerer's description so closely resembled what I had already written in my anno.   

       // i know i may sound disrespectful //   

       You do.   

       // but don't be fooled by that //   

       I'm not. I like you already. You put up a good fight, stand by your guns, and you know how to think. Your spelling could use improvement.   

       Looking forward to more, [SP].
Alterother, Oct 06 2012

       Not to say yours isn't better, but the deaf and blind have a tap code they tap on each other's fingers. Watch "Planet of Snail" for an example.
4and20, Oct 07 2012

       Inyuki, no, I didn't think about that. In fact, as I stated in the readme.txt, you could assign the letters to the codelets using the english letter frequency, e.g. for an international version of the tap code. The set of codelets is the important thing, and what I claim I was clever about, not the letter assignment. But I believe it wouldn't even make a big difference for efficiency, because almost all languages that use the latin alphabet have similar frequencies, you know, e being the most frequent, and then either t or n being next (*big hand waving here*) or so. So I would recommend everyone to use my definition, even the english, french, swedish, etc. people.   

       But there is a thing that is very interesting there, and I'm glad, that you remind me of that: indeed, after a time, the letters and the codes grow together somehow, and you even can't think of "l" without also thinking of ".. .." or "2,2". So, l for me *is* now .. .., no matter what. Of course I could retrain that, not that it sticks till the end of my life, but... So somehow l *means* .. .. to me now. Isn't this funny? And it's the same with all the other letters.
SeriousParakeet, Oct 07 2012

       Hot, cold, hot hot hot, cold cold hot.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 07 2012

       the digits could be e,n,r,a,o,z for 1-6 obviously and then s for 7, t for 8, h for 9 and i for 0 (zero). it would be clear from the context that not letters are meant but numbers. for example if someone asks how old are you and you would answer ro, the meaning should be clear. (maybe he would ask how old r u anyway)
SeriousParakeet, Oct 08 2012


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