Monday, March 7, 2011

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A Pen That Digitizes and Records

In the curious product category of connected, voice-recording, pen input devices, Livescribe pretty much dominates. Its latest, the Livescribe Echo Smartpen, has a slimmed-down design and a host of new collaborative applications on the horizon.

A Pen That Digitizes and RecordsStill, like its predecessor, the Pulse, the Echo’s greatest strengths are its ability to record written notes, sync them with live audio recordings, and provide an easy way to manage digital copies of both.

Despite being a bit slimmer than the Pulse, the 0.5-by-6.2-by-0.8-inch Echo is still a bit unwieldy. The rubberized tip helps your grip, but the 1.3-ounce device feels more like a big magic marker than a pen.

Nestled inside the tip of the Echo pen is a high-speed, infrared camera that captures 70 frames per second. This camera captures anything you write, as long as it’s on the specially imprinted, not- quite-white note paper the company supplies. Connect the pen to your PC, and you can download digital copies of your handwritten notes.

Pretty cool already, but there is more. The Echo also has a built-in microphone that records audio as you write. Want to find out what the professor was saying when you were taking your notes? Just tap a spot on the paper and click Play, and you’ll hear exactly—and clearly—what he was saying as you wrote in that spot. You can play back the audio on the pen or export it to your Mac or PC, where every stroke of your Echo pen is shown as the audio plays back.

The Echo comes in 4GB ($169.95) and 8GB ($199.95) models, which can store 400 or 800 hours of audio respectively. The Livescribe Echo is a high-tech bridge between analog, handwritten notes and  the digital world. This is a writing instrument any gadget geek will love.—Dan Costa

Livescribe Echo Smartpen
$169.95 direct (4GB)
PROS: Digitally captures handwritten and audio notes. Sensitive microphone. Pencasts can be shared online. Growing app library. CONS: Bulky. Actual pen tip is just a basic ballpoint. Requires specially printed notepaper.

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About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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