Logitech io Personal Digital Pen


posted 7/10/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
One of the things I really don't enjoy is taking down notes on paper. As a computer user, I would rather use some sort of digital device to record my thoughts. What if there was an easy way to transfer your notes and scribbles on paper into an electronic format without having to use a scanner and having the portability to carry it anywhere. Logitech has an answer to that question and it comes in the form of the Logitech io Personal Digital Pen.

The Logitech io Personal Digital Pen is a pen that records all that you write on special paper and transfers the contents when the pen is put back into the recharging cradle. As you can see in the pictures, the pen is considerably larger than regular ball point pens. Contained within the pen are a rechargeable battery, storage, and a small camera. On the side are two LED symbols that let you know if you're running low on power or storage. The pen is a little large, about the size of a highlighter. The thickness of the pen will probably get to some people. For a comparison, hold a large highlighter for a while and write with it. The io Personal Digital Pen is better contoured to fit a hand though. You can even hold the pen upside down or sideways. Orientation of the pen doesn't matter and the page will be captured exactly to digital form.

A recharging cradle lets you easily download all the information that's stored on the pen to your computer. It plugs into your computer via a USB port and you'll also need an outlet for the power brick to plug into. I would've liked it better if Logitech found a way to change the large brick plug to a normal sized plug. Power bricks on the plug have always annoyed me to no end.

Installation was simple but you are required to install the .NET framework on your computer for the software. Interesting that Logitech would require .NET so there must be an API that the software uses in .NET. Once the software is installed, you plug the pen into the cradled attached to a USB port, which will allow for the final drivers to be installed once the OS detects the pen.

You'll start out training the pen to recognize your handwriting. Training is quick though as it's only used to recognize letters in special areas. You'll be asked to write various letters and symbols twice and download the information to your computer. After that, the pen should be able to recognize those letters when you write them in the designated boxes. Should I say as I will get to more of how well this feature is implemented.

The pen has enough storage for 40 pages of writing. The manual states that the charge on the pen will last around 25 pages. 25 pages should be plenty for a few classes although I can think of some freshmen weed out classes where it was nothing but 40 minutes of continuous note taking.

To change a refill on the pen, there’s a small hole on the cap clip that you use as leverage on the ink cartridge. Using slight pressure, you can pull the cartridge out and insert a new one. Refills can be purchased anywhere as long as it’s carbon free. My contact suggested that I take the pen’s cartridge to a dealer to get the correct size refill.

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