Digital pens are used to write down digital notes, which can be transferred directly to the computer. These devices are handy for secretaries or journalists who have to take notes on the go, and for graphic designers who want their sketches digitalised. Several types of digital pens exist, from the pen-tablet to digital pens that come with notepads. Many of these pens feature cameras, voice recorders, real ink and a notepad made from special paper.
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Livescribe Echo Smartpen
The Livescribe Echo Smartpen records both handwritten notes and audio data, and synchronises the two when downloaded onto a computer. With the Echo Smartpen it is possible to make videos of your writing and play it back. The pen has a replaceable ink cartridge, but requires special Livescribe dot-paper. The Livescribe Echo package includes a 50-sheet starter notebook containing lined dot-paper. Various control options are printed at the bottom of each sheet. Tapping on these controls activates certain functions of the pen. A standard 3.5mm headphone jack and embedded speaker are also included to enable you to listen to your audio clips without a computer.
Both Windows and Mac OS systems support the Livescribe system. Through "Livescribe Desktop," software that comes with the pen, you can digitise, organise and share handwritten notes. This pen unfortunately does not come with handwriting-to-text conversion software, but you can buy MyScript, transcription software that was developed for Livescribe, online. The Livescribe Echo also comes with a password protection option to help you keep your audio files private. Livescribe Echo's "pencast" option allows school teachers to provide at-home instruction by making animated videos of written notes. Livescribe Echo pens come with 4GB or 8GB internal memory, and have a Micro USB port and a headphone jack.
Pegasus Technologies has developed a digital pen called "Tablet NoteTaker." The NoteTaker is a cordless digital pen that writes with ink on plain paper, while creating a digital ink copy of the notes. It connects to computers or other devices such as mobile phones via Bluetooth or USB technology. Microsoft Vista, Windows 7 and Office 2007 utilities support the NoteTaker as both a digital pen and a mouse. Via Microsoft's handwriting recognition, notes can be transferred to typed text. The Notetaker is also compatible with Mac OS X systems.
IRISnotes digital pens turn handwritten notes and sketches into digital data. The pen records your hand movements and transmits them to a receiver on a clip attached to the top of an ordinary piece of paper. Up to 100 pages of handwritten notes can be stored on the digital receiver before needing to be downloaded to a computer. The pen comes with software that converts the handwriting into electronic text and recognises up to 22 different languages. Files can also be archived as handwritten notes. The IRISnotes digital pen can also be used as a mouse or a tablet-pen.
Dane Electric Zpen
The Dane Electric Zpen is a wireless digital pen with a 1GB internal storage capacity. This pen captures handwriting on any type of paper and does not require a direct connection to a computer. A wireless receiver is clipped on the top of your page to record notes. The receiver functions as a USB-storage device and can be used as a normal USB drive to transfer notes, music or any other files to the computer. The Dane Electric Zpen uses standard ink. The slim design of this pen makes it feel like you are writing with a regular pen.
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