Several years ago the concept of digital pens reached a mainstream environment. These were pens that interacted with special paper to either digitize what was written, provide information or something else. The FLYPEN was one of the first to arrive on the market. At the time, I thought it a waste of time, something I would never end up buying because I could see no use for getting digitized copies of everything I wrote down. I also wasn’t willing to pay several hundred dollars for one.
Then a company named Anoto began creating this “dot paper”, paper with a printed dot pattern to make digitization and interaction better for smartpens. Anoto released their own pen and that looked interesting, yet at the time I was still unable to see the need for one.
Last year, I started looking into a new company, Livescribe that created the Pulse Smartpen. This was looking rather interesting. Anoto dot paper technology, java based software and “penlets”, 1gb of storage space, and the ability to record audio while taking notes. All of a sudden, this device began to look rather interesting.
In my day to day life, I end up taking a lot of notes. Though I do normally have a computer with me, it’s not always feasible to use it for note-taking. For example, when creating diagrams or any type of drawing, using a laptop touchpad is just plain horrible and results in sub-par quality assuming it’s even legible at all. For this reason, the Pulse Smartpen was looking appealing. I received it as a birthday present and immediately decided to put it through a test. I was given the new 2gb model of the Pulse Smartpen.
Included in the box is:
- 1 Pulse Smartpen (2gb or 4gb)
- 1 Starter Notebook
- 1 Ink Cartridge Refill
- Quick Start Guide
- USB Portable Docking Station
- 3d Audio Recording Headset
The Pulse uses an infrared camera to read the dots on special paper to figure out where it is (dot-positioning-system) and from there records all of the strokes you make on the page, instantly digitizing everything you write in your own handwriting! With audio recording, and the ability to design your own paper and penlets with java, for it’s cost this pen seems like a very nice deal.
Within two days of having, and using it, I found my notetaking habits were vastly changed. The pen truly revolutionizes the way people work. The pen came before the keyboard and many times it’s much better than the keyboard. With the pulse, you get the best of both worlds, digital and a PEN! The ability to record audio and link it to written text on the base is a major plus point of the pulse. In practice, this allows you to either write less and listen more, then add more notes later. It also provides a failsafe incase you forget to write something down. You can always listen to it.
The best part of the Pulse’s design in my opinion, is that the only button is the power button. All of the other “buttons” are relocated onto the bottom of the journal & notebook pages. Called “Paper Replay,” they allow you to control audio and the entire pens settings as well.
So all together, Livescribe’s software, and Pulse SmartPen have changed the way I work. I no longer need to pull out my laptop or netbook for everything. I can just use my SmartPen and it’s paper and then have all the information needed on my netbook when I get a chance! I highly recommend Livescribe and I’m sure that once you try it, you will too!