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Pen maker Cross goes digital

As a person writes on a normal 8-by-11-inch sheet of paper backed by the CrossPad, signals are stored on a memory chip.

The Cross Pen Computing Group said it has begun shipping a portable notepad that uses IBM software to capture handwriting, for transfer from a notepad onto a PC.

The company's CrossPad records handwritten notes or sketches by using an ink

A CrossPad
A CrossPad
pen equipped with a radio frequency transmitter. As the user writes on a normal 8-by-11-inch sheet of paper, signals are received by the pad and stored on a memory chip.

Though the system stores handwritten information, it does not convert handwriting into text. Instead, once saved, information can be transferred from the CrossPad to a PC using serial cables. The PC system then uses IBM Ink Manager software to project the notes or sketches on a computer screen; they can be edited in several Windows 95 applications.

The software allows the user to search for files by creation date, upload date, keywords, or "bookmarks", according to the Rhode Island company, better known for its high-end pens. The CrossPad also allows the user to file, reorganize, fax, email, or print notes in either the original handwritten form or as converted ASCII text.

The CrossPad requires Windows 95 and a Pentium processor, 16MB of memory, an available 9-pin COM port for the interconnection, and a CD-ROM drive. Offered at $399, the CrossPad weighs 2.2 pounds and contains 1MB of flash ROM memory that can store up to 50 pages of digital notes.