04. 15. 2008
Livescribe's Pulse pen computer
I recently realized, when writing a letter, that I can now barely write. I'm so used to putting everything into a computer, or a PDA/phone that I can type with my thumbs much more quickly than I can write. I was ashamed and a little frightened and started imagining scenarios when there's a big Cloverfield-like attack and power outage and I die while thumb-typing and screaming into a dead Blackberry.
Another problem is that when I do scribble little notes and phone numbers, I forget what they're about by the time I find them in my purse a few months later. And forget notes from lectures or conferences- I clearly have undiagnosed ADHD because generally all I can make out are bad drawings of big-eyed waifs and mean notes to the lecturer to please stop talking so I can go to the bathroom. Once in a while, though, I see a note that says something like "IMPORTANT, make sure to look this up!" and I don't remember what it's in reference to at all.
The Livescribe Pulse is a pen which records audio and also digitizes whatever you're writing, while keeping track of what exactly you were listening to while writing. When you go back to your notebook and run the pen over a particular sentence or drawing, the pen will cue up and play the audio from that moment. So now, a vague note like, "wow, so cool!" may actually mean something when it's connected to a conversation or audio note.
The Pulse is powered by a Samsung ARM processor, and will eventually be able to provide much more interactive and powerful applications. Right now beyond the audio and handwriting capture, there's not much more than a calculator, but there will be translators and internet-connected applications soon.
While the Pulse comes with what looks like a regular notebook, it's actually plain paper which is embedded with a pattern of tiny dots which facilitates the handwriting recognition. There's an infrared camera which then captures the patterns which lets you upload all your important notes. Or doodles and nonsensical notes, in my case.
The 1 GB Pulse is $149, and the 2 GB model is $199, but you need to sign up for a special pre-order program to order one right now.