Young alum creates iPad user experience improvement (w/ Video)

May 24, 2012 By Kristen Shaw, Georgia Institute of Technology

( -- When Daniel Hooper became frustrated with editing text on his iPad, he wrote an application that could revolutionize the way users select and arrange their words on tablets. 

“I see the iPad as the future of computing, and I think a couple years down the road it will be the only thing most people own,” said Hooper, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computational media from the Institute in May. “Because of that I feel a lot of things need to get better — particularly for me, editing text.”

The so-called “Hooper Selection” uses the keyboard to select, copy and paste text, rather than having the user highlight on the text itself. Hooper demonstrates the method in a YouTube video that has garnered more than 600,000 views and drawn attention from media outlets. As for the name, Hooper himself can’t take credit. 

“Another developer emailed me saying they had made a Wikipedia page,” he said. “He was concerned so many people were copying the work that I wouldn’t be remembered as the creator. The name is kind of dorky and still sounds weird to me, but it works.”

Hooper, who himself is an iPad and iPhone owner, has been working on iOS development since his freshman year at Tech. Last fall he created a game called Percepto, and Hooper Selection emerged as a project for his digital humanities course last spring.

“It’s sort of a bland thing, text editing, but it’s so key to everything you do. Regardless of the app, you’re probably typing at some point.” 

Regardless of whether Apple implements the idea, Hooper hopes it inspires all companies to put more time and research into this aspect of the tablet user experience. He’s already seen some third-party developers use it in their applications. 

“I put the video out there hoping people would think it was cool and, at the very least, make them unhappy with the current state even if this isn’t the solution. I enjoyed using my prototype so much that I thought, other people probably want this, but it’s something Apple would have to do since it’s kind of a system-level thing.” A modified version of Hooper’s idea by another developer has been made available to those willing to jailbreak their phones, but nothing from Apple has been implemented at this time.

Hooper’s interest in programming stemmed from early days of assembling LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics kits, growing into an interest in video games and eventually design at Tech. He soon departs for a multi-week, post-graduation Eurotrip, but, for the tablet’s safety, will likely leave his behind.

Explore further: iSchool prof predicts the future of search user interfaces

Related Stories

iSchool prof predicts the future of search user interfaces

November 7, 2011

School of Information professor Marti Hearst predicts the future of online search interfaces in an article in this month’s edition of the Communications of the ACM. “The future of user interfaces will involve ...

How to keep lonely exoplanets snug -- just add dark matter

June 23, 2011

Dark matter, inferred to exist from its gravitational effects on the universe, is still a mystery to scientists. But a new study says that dark matter could help life evolve and survive on distant worlds outside of our solar ...

Augmented reality in an iPhone app

June 20, 2011

Imagine you’re in a museum, and you can point your iPhone camera to a painting or an object in an exhibit and instantly get additional information about what you’re looking at. This is what PixLive, an iPhone app ...

Dark matter could provide heat for starless planets

April 1, 2011

( -- In a recent paper posted at and submitted to Astrophysical Journal, Dan Hooper and Jason Steffen, physicists at Fermilab in Illinois, present the theory that cold and dark planets, not heated by ...

iPhone and iPad with iOS 4 records your moves (w/video)

April 20, 2011

( -- Security researchers have discovered that any iPhone or iPad that has been updated with iOS 4 records everywhere you have been to a secret file. The file is also copied to the owner’s computer whenever ...

Recommended for you

What do you get when you cross an airplane with a submarine?

February 15, 2018

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft that is capable of traveling both through the air and under the water – transitioning repeatedly between sky and sea. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 24, 2012
Yay! I want it and it works. I hope people deluge Apple with this as a feature request. I hate the way selecting is done right now. Apple used to be really careful about their interface but I feel they have gotten sloppy of late.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.