Despite the pundits’ predictions, hand writing is not dead and Livescribe knows it.
Tonight, Mark Parker, General Manager of Livescribe, dropped by to demonstrate the Livescribe range of digitizing pens.
Livescribe have a range of intelligent pens designed to take your hand writing and put it on the computer.
Livescribe pens start with a desktop pen, the Echo, attached to the computer via a USB cable. The introduction of Wi Fi saw Livescribe created the Sky Wi Fi series, and with the growth of cloud storage came the introduction of the Livescribe 3 series and access to note-taking software like Evernote and Microsoft’s Onenote.
The concept Livescribe uses to transfer written words to computer is unique. Unlike other attempts that involved using a stylus to write on the screen, Livescibe pens use paper with a fine pattern of dots printed on it, so you get real notes with the bonus that they are also stored on your computer.
Roger has a good look at the pen.
How do these pens work? Each pen has a sensor at the tip behind the pen cartridge. This sensor does not read the ink, that’s for humans to read. The sensor tracks the pens position using that fine dot pattern printed on the paper. Mark said it is quite confusing for people because you can continue to write even if the ink runs out.
Here is an enlargement of the dot pattern.
and here is what the whole page looks like.
There is a range of papers available from Fancy leather bound Journals and notepads to simple A4 and A5 notebooks and even sticky notes. You can also print your own pages. The software will recognise the type of paper in use. You can see on the device what you have write in your Journal, A4 notepaper or notepad.
When you open the software, the home page shows all the documents you have been using under a heading “Notebooks”. Mark has a Notebook and a Journal open. The handwriting is display on the screen as you write in the notebook.
Mark used the new Livescribe 3 pen for iPad, iPhone and iPod for the demonstrated. He started the display with a note about the meeting
Remembering what was said in a meeting can be problematic, a short note will not catch all the details. The Livescibe 3 uses the microphone of the device to record the conversation. The Sky Wi-Fi model uses an inbuilt mic on the pen.
To start a recording session you tap the record icon on the bottom of the page or the mic symbol on the software. A red bar appears on the screen showing that a recording is being made. From then on any notes you write on the page turn green on the screen.
To refresh your memory you simply tap the note and it plays back the audio as recorded at the time you wrote the note.
The rise of cloud storage has seen the rise of new note-taking software, such as Microsoft’s Onenote and Evernote. Livescribe has taken up the cause by introducing connections to Onenote and Evernote so your meeting notes, doodles, and handwritten diagrams can go straight to your favourite cloud storage. You can also e-mail a PDF and print.
And there is even a link to your Dropbox account.
This is intelligent software. It can determine context and situation so an e-mail address will be recognised as such. Phone numbers and addresses will also be rendered correctly. It can transcribe hand writing to text.
Here we see the written word transcribed into type by a simple swipe.
It did appear to have a small translation problem. The words were “Alex saved the service” but the typed translation says “Alex sad this source” I guess the software needs neat handwriting to avoid errors.
The Livescribe site has lots of information and support.
In Australia, the Smart pen site is the official distributor of Livescribe products.
Prices vary between outlets, but the paper sells for less at Officeworks. In store they had two journals of 80 pages for $29.84 and set of 4 A4 notebooks for $39.95 while the notepads are $15.95 online.
You can print the paper yourself but Mark did mention that with ink cartridge costs this may not be the cheaper option. Here are two links to download the pdfs.
Note: to make them work you need to chose "actual size" from the print menu and best quality print.
Tonight Mark brought along the Livescribe 3 Pro Edition
and John took home the door prize