Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen is a new device that lets you store audio with your notes as you write and play them back later by simply clicking a link on your note paper. It makes recording business meetings, lectures, speeches or any other audio a real breeze. It lets you associate audio with your notes as you write on special dotted paper, and stores those notes inside it electronically. Other devices currently on the market, only capture data onto your PC but the Pulse is the first to link intelligent audio capability with data entry giving you an efficient way to save and replay your notes while you're on the go. This opens up new possibilities for tools that enhance personal productivity, learning, communications, and entertainment and could possibly launch a new era in mobile computing. Somewhat bigger than a Montblanc style pen, Livescribe's smartpen was developed to substitute the common, workaday pen as a computer user's main writing tool.

Employing new breakthroughs in memory, storage, microprocessors, connectivity and component size, the smartpen is an innovative, advanced paper-based computing device, with both audio and visual feedback, hefty processing capabilities and substantial built-in storage of up to 2 GB. The "mobile-computing platform", as described by LiveScribe founder Jim Marggraff, consists of: - the Smartpen, a fountain-pen-sized computer with audio/visual feedback and memory for handwriting capture, audio recording and applications - paper with Dot Positioning System technology that creates interactive documents using plain paper printed with microdots - software applications, including audio/ink capture, handwriting recognition and Internet connectivity - and tools for consumers and developers to create, publish and share new applications and content online Basically, how Pulse works is this: While taking notes during a discussion or lecture, the smartpen records the conversation and digitizes the handwriting, automatically synching the ink and audio. By later tapping the ink, the smartpen replays the conversation from the exact moment the note was written. This makes it easy to find an exact quotation without having the bother of scanning the audio of a lengthy discourse using traditional means. Shortening the time it takes to find these audio tracks is bound to save a lot of time for many people who report and write for a living. This makes it an ideal tool for students, lawyers, doctors, journalists, bloggers and no doubt plenty of other professionals who need a more natural way to transcribe, record and find information quickly while on the go.

From a practical point of view, the only thing that concerns me about this great new techno toy is the cost of the special paper and ink used by the pen. The pen itself is inexpensive with 1 GB and 2 GB models going for $149 and $199 respectively but the last thing I want to do is get bogged down with pricey consumables. I didn't see any pricing regarding that on their website, so I can't report on it just yet but have you checked out the price of ink cartridges for printers lately? Anyway, before you decide to try this new toy out, be sure to check out those prices so you don't get roped into expenses you didn't count on. Regarding the paper itself, I would have liked to have seen some form of writing tablet accessory that would replace the paper in some cases. This would eliminate some additional expense and save a few trees in the process. Perhaps, the company will take that into consideration in the future.

One last note for any developers out there, the LiveScribe has an SDK and CDK that will be released by mid 2008, so if you're interested in possibly doing some development for this new platform, check out their website and sign up for the developer program.

To view a video demonstration of the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen visit:

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