Logitech io Personal Digital Pen


posted 7/10/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
The pen doesn't work on everyday normal paper of course. You'll need special notebooks that contain very small dots and hot spots for the pen to capture your writing. As you write, the optical sensor captures your movements and stores them in memory. On the sample notebook that was given to me, the bottom area contains a few special areas. One area lets you write a subject while another allows you to write in an email address. Three checkboxes can tell the software on your computer what application to bring up when accessing the page. For example, if the e-mail box is checked the Logitech software will put the subject into the subject field of the email and fill in the e-mail address for you while converting the document to jpg and automatically attaching it to the e-mail. If you don't need any editing of the message you can just click send and off it goes to the designated party. Pretty simple if I must say.

All your scribbles on the paper are converted to a jpg image complete with blue coloring for the blue ink in the pen. There is no hand writing to text conversion but read on to see how it does on the certain areas that are designated for this. When you do check a hot spot to tell the pen you are done with a certain page or that this page is being written for email, the io Personal Digital Pen vibrates ever so slightly to signal to you that the command has been recognized.

One of the things I really like about the system is that I could switch between various pages and the pen would know exactly which one I am on. And if I already had a sheet that I wrote on in my computer system, the pen would append any changes to it when I went back and wrote on the same sheet again. Pretty slick if you ask me.

While doing the training at the beginning helps the pen recognize your writing in the subject field or to field, the pen had some trouble with recognizing some of the characters I was writing consistently. Granted I don't have the best handwriting around but the pen sometimes had trouble distinguishing me writing a D and a P. Even with the slightest tail on the vertical part of the D, it would sometimes put in a P. There are plenty of other areas that are not mistake free and I had to correct the address of the e-mail that the program filled incorrectly. It was a little inconvenient but certainly not a product killer. As I mentioned earlier there is no conversion from handwriting to text. I don't think the software in its current state could accurately reflect what was handwritten to typed text. (Images of Nelson on the Simpsons writing in his Newton "Beat up Martin" which transformed to text that said "Eat up Martha" comes to mind.) But software coming out in the fall will have the feature implemented.
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