TOTW: Livescribe 3 Digital Recording Pen
Pens and pencils have been pretty much the same for years and years. Sure, new gel in the grip, or some new ink, but when it comes down to it, the basic use of a pen has stayed the same: for writing. Unfortunately for pen companies, computers and other electronic devices are taking over that industry, just as it is with books or even in a way point and shoot cameras. To be honest, I only use pens for tasks that need sketch or freedom of thought that a computer doesn’t allow. Though, one pen I would use more than the other brands, and that brand is Livescribe’s Livescribe 3 pen.
The Livescribe 3 is a ballpoint pen, with an interesting integration with computers: everything you write down is automatically transcribed onto a tablet or computer. Say you are taking notes for a college class. You have to write fast, otherwise you will fall behind in the lecture. Livescribe lets you write at normal speed, but also allows you to add drawings or other addition items that wouldn’t work on a computer, then automatically upload those notes so you can look at them without the pain of going through papers. I’m definitely not saying this is the future, not a world-changing revolutionary idea, but it is a start.
It is a cool product, but there are some setbacks. For instance, when the pen takes in your writing to the app, a big part of the app is that you can flick the text, and the writing will immediately turn into text, that you can then take and put into Calendar, Reminders or Mail. All it takes is handwriting recognition software. The problem is, the software doesn’t learn you writing. It stays how it started. So to be recognized, you have to either have good handwriting at the start, or just try harder to be legible. If this isn’t a problem, then the Livescribe 3 pen would be a perfect fit for you.
Livescribe has come up with a clever way to have the pen recognize the words its writing. On the bottom of the pen, inside the fountain pen-like indent is a camera, which can record the writing. Then, since the paper you have to use has lots of dots on it, the pen and the software can identify where it is on the page and refine the writing. Luckily, Livescribe hasn’t been greedy, and you can easily buy the dotted paper notebooks and print them off the internet for the same price as regular paper. If they had added a price to that, the consequences would have been lots of lost customers.
Already, the $149`dollar price of a juiced up pen is enough to make some people shy away, but this is for a complete set of the pen and their special Evernote-like application for iPads and computers. The app lets you document all you writing into tags, letting out all you notes from different talk, conferences or classes into different places. For a person who likes using pens for the freedom and the versatility, this pen would be a good upgrade and introduction into the growing modern world. For those of you who use computers for notes, writing, emailing, basically everything, this would be unneeded and wasteful. Also, if you are an artist, architect or have another specific profession, this pen could be extremely useful. Like most technology, it depends on you.