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.
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.
PC Mag had an article yesterday about some of the new apps available for the Pulse SmartPen, the pen that records audio and synchronizes it with your written notes for later playback.
The pen's app store, which launches in beta form Thursday with roughly 30 apps, will add features like language translation (Spanish-to-English and a Hebrew study guide) and games (video poker –the tiny cards actually appear on the OLED screen).
In some cases, you'll be able to download the app and then Livescribe's app partners will snail-mail the app-specific microdot paper to your home or office.
In typical Pulse fashion, users will be able to access their all their apps by first writing the name of the app on micro-dot paper and then, when they want to activate the app, simply tapping the pen on the app's name.
As we've said before, the pen's too expensive (about £120) to use as your everyday pen, but would be a handy tool for students, journalists, or anyone else who takes a lot of notes of lectures, meetings, etc. These apps make it even more attractive, although it's probably a mite small to make for a great gaming experience.
You might remember that we mentioned the Pulse smartpen by Livescribe in an earlier post on unusual pens. This is the pen/computer that simultaneously records audio and captures handwriting and can sync the two for later recall.
Today, the company launched two new models and announced that it’s expanding into several more US retailers. And it appears that at least one of the new models is now also available in the UK (at Amazon.co.uk and at Micro Anvika). Continue reading
We love pens, but sometimes, really, they can take themselves far too seriously.
So, once in a while, we have to search out those pens that are just silly or geeky or made for people whose lives apparently are much more adventurous than our own. The only criterion is that they must be pens you can actually use, besides being unusual in some way, of course.
This time around, we found nine such pens, each one ugly, awkward and fun in its own way. Or so we think, anyway. Continue reading