Smartpens and dotpaper

Livescribe INC. promises to deliver the greatest innovation to pen & paper since, well, pen & paper. The new Smartpen when coupled with dotpaper will allow students, journalists, and other professionals the ability to interface with their computer directl

As a student, I struggled to keep my notes organized and I have only faired better as a journalist through my abandonment of pen and paper. Over the years I've encountered many other people who have also struggled to keep their notes organized and for many of us a notebook computer has been the only solution. Or is it?

Livescribe, an Oakland based company, has recently introduced a suite of high-tech products which will likely put a whole new spin on the low-tech world of pen and paper. According to Livescribe, the smartpen will be available for less than $200 and the specialized electronic paper products will supposedly be comparable to paper of the old-school variety. They have three video demonstrations of the product in action, and given what I've seen I'm quite excited to actually get my hands on a Smartpen soon and see for myself. According to Livescribe the pen will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

In digging through their product material, I haven't found a lot of concrete material, but from the looks of it they are attempting to develop an entirely new form of computing that is pen based, and will be developing a suite of applications that make use of this technology. Some applications Livescribe outlines in their material includes interactive note-taking using the on-board microphone, translation services and mobile print-based blogging. As a reporter, the ability to record an interview and log the audio to my notes has incredible potential as we've all encountered instances in which the quote we'd like to use is incomplete or without all the context necessary to accurately capture a subject's point of view.

If I have an opportunity to get my hands on a "smartpen" and some "dotpaper," I'll be certain to provide an update on this developing technology. Until then we'll just have to sit and ponder they myriad of uses one could employ with the soon-to-be-released device.
About the author

    Josh Wolf first became interested in the power of the press after writing and distributing a screed against his high school's new dress code. Within a short time, the new dress code was abandoned, and ever since then he's been getting his hands dirty deconstructing the media every step of the way. Wolf recently became the longest-incarcerated journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history after he spent 226 days in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate. In Media sphere, Josh shares his daily insights on the developing information landscape and examines how various corporate and governmental actions effect the free press both in the United States and abroad.


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