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digital pens

  • Could Digital Pens Be Worth Writing Home About?

    The challenge to develop digital pens apparently started some 25 years ago. Today there are a number on offer, some use a camera technology developed by Anoto, others have a device that tracks the pens movement across the writing surface.

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    The description of a digital pen according to PC mag is “An electronic ballpoint pen that digitizes, stores and transfers what is written or drawn to the computer” The taking of notes is an important skill for many of us in a variety of situations, whether that's at a lecture, meeting or important presentation. A digital pen is less cumbersome to use than a tablet or laptop & is less of a distraction allowing you to concentrate on what you write without dipping in & out of emails or surfing the net.

    One of the latest gadgets around is Phree, users can scribble & make note on almost any surface, from the car dash to the office chair, you won't have to reach for a pen or your phone to record your thoughts or an all important contact name or number. It will connect to your phone, TV or laptop, anything with a bluetooth connection. As a current Kickstarter campaign Phree isn't expected to be ready for shipping until March 2016.

    If you can't wait to get your hands on a piece of this technology then you could check out the Staedtler Digital Pen. This intuitive ballpoint saves time by allowing you to record your notes or drawings by simply attaching the receiver to your page, when you're ready transfer to a PC just download using a USB cable.

    Other features

    • Capture up to 100 A4 pages
    • Refillable with standard D1 refills
    • 3 settings - choose from mobile, mouse or online modes
    • Recognises 30 languages
    • Easily manage files

    I see digital pens as another tool, ideal for taking notes where laptops, phones or tablets are banned or where there's a need for taking copius notes that need to be written up & stored digitally or emailed. Whether they will ever replace a pen or pencil is anyone's guess.

  • More Digital Pens for Writing 2.0

    We've mentioned digital pens before on this blog just because they're so cool and seem quite handy for specific applications. Here are two more we've read about recently, one for medical professionals and the other for children.

    Shareable Ink is a ballpoint pen with built-in camera that streamlines the medical billing and record-keeping process by instantly transferring data from hospital forms to computer.

    Doctors use the pens to fill out the specially designed forms, while the camera in the tip records all the information. Then, they have the option to send the information wirelessly to the records system, or to dock the pen for transfer.

    The pen automatically fills in the form on the computer, exactly as the doctor completed the original.

    Check out this video from the medGadget blog of company founder Dr. Vernon Huang, an anaesthesiologist, demonstrating how the pen works.

    The LeapFrog FLY Fusion Pentop Computer is designed for children (the company recently changed the age range from 8 years and up to 13 years and up) and works like most other digital pens: Kids write on special microdot paper and the camera in the tip captures each movement, whether text or drawing.

    Pentop Computer

    The pen comes with 64 MB of memory and connects to a computer by USB cable. Once hooked up, it will transfer everything the camera captured, exactly as it was written. Well, provided the child holds the pen correctly and writes legibly. Otherwise, the images get garbled, according to Ryan Preston's great review at The Gadgeteer.

    Additional features from the company's website:

    Touch your pentop computer to FLY Paper, and you can quiz yourself on history, get help with a quadratic equation, or even play your favorite MP3. And when you're ready for new software, simply connect to your PC again to purchase and download custom homework and gaming applications directly to your FLY Fusion Pentop Computer.

    One thing we're left wondering about these and other digital pens is how well they write. Most of them seem to be using some type of ballpoint refill, so they can't be all that smooth, especially on dot paper, but if anyone has used a digital pen, we'd be interested in hearing about the actual writing experience.

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