Types of digital pens

Written by dr. skylar stark
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Types of digital pens
Digital pens are useful for students and other note-takers. (Woman Using A Graphic Tablet And Pen image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com)

Digital pens are the high-tech version of their ink counterparts. Digital pens look very similar to ink pens, but they electronically record and transcribe writing instead of simply depositing ink onto paper. Some digital pens function as an ink pen as well, while others require a specialised writing surface. Digital pens offer the ability to easily transfer written text to computer files and are ideal for students, journalists or others who take a lot of notes.

Livescribe: Pulse Smart Pen

The Livescribe Pulse Smart Pen provides standard ink and digital writing abilities, while also offering audio capture and playback. The pen captures digital notes through an infrared camera near the reservoir tip. The infrared camera relies on specialised dot matrix paper, which must be used when taking digital notes. Users can purchase reams of paper or print their own. Notes and audio are downloaded via USB, and can be then searched, shared and transformed into movies. The pen can be purchased at major retailers.


The LogiPen offers digital pen technology, but unlike other digital pens it does not require the use of special paper. The LogiPen offers the functionality to take digital and ink notes, as well as offering the added ability to work as a tablet computer stylus. The pen is compatible with Windows XP and Vista, and is enabled to input digital writing directly into Microsoft Office programs. The pen is available online through LogiPen (see Resources).

Digital Scribe

The Iogear Digital Scribe pen can produce both ink and digital notes written on any surface; special paper is not required. Once downloaded, notes are easily organised and searched. As an added benefit, the pen can also be used as a mouse. Digital Scribe is available through Internet retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.


The IrisPen is a hand-held pen that captures text via scanner and converts it using optical character recognition. The IrisPen captures pre-written text only and does not offer the ability to take ink notes. The pen is designed to recognise up to 125 different languages and is compatible with Windows and Mac. It is available through Internet retailers.

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