Digital pens that can capture handwritten notes, drawings, and memos, store them electronically, and even turn them into digital text are not exactly a dime a dozen, but they've been around for a while. Here's a new and mind-boggling variation that sounds straight out of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The Mobile Digital Scribe claims to be the first device that can capture and store handwriting employing only - here's the mind-boggling part - ordinary paper and an ordinary ballpoint pen refill available at your average office-supply center. The company says you don't need a special digital notepad or special digital ink to take electronic notes that you can upload to a computer for display, export in JPEG, or even turn into text.
I'll be fascinated to read the reviews. But if the process is as easy as its promotional material makes it seem, the Mobile Digital Scribe should be heaven for those - medical types, journalists, students - who would rather be wired but must take handwritten notes because they're on the move or in class.
How does it work? Just wave your wand and chant this spell . . . No, just kidding. The pen, which contains an infrared sensor that captures hand movements, transmits its signal ultrasonically to a receiver clipped to a notepad or paper. Plug the receiver into a computer for upload and manipulation.
What manipulation? Well, it is said that you can export in JPEG, which you can then post, email, send via IM, print, or even delete, although that seems a waste of electronic magic. Or you can put your digitized writing through the included optical character recognition (OCR) software that can read 12 languages, turning it into text you can edit, post, email, send via IM, or even delete, although that seems like an even bigger waste of electronic magic.
The package includes the Mobile Digital Scribe pen and receiver, the unspecial ballpoint refill, a USB cable, 2 SR41 batteries, a quick start guide, the multilingual OCR software, and an installation CD. It retails for $130, but hey, that's a lot cheaper than a laptop.
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