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Livescribe Pens: As Writing Evolves
Writing is a symbol of how mankind has evolved over the centuries. There was a time that writing was practised on cave walls using whatever coloured stones one could find. As we developed and gained more dexterity, we eventually shifted to quills. Somewhere in the mid-18th century, the first fountain pen was created in France. They became a symbol of refinement, associated with fluency and upper classes. Soon after that, a few years before the onset of world war I László Bíró, made the first ballpoint pen for civilians.
Since then many companies patented the pen and its production began as the new tool of writing, emphasizing the world tool. Who would have thought that a tool as simple as a pen could be turned into technology? It has become a symbol of how evolution is constant and has no full stop.
Livescribe has been called by many “the future of writing”. Some also believe that Livescribe may replace ordinary and mundane writing tools forever. However, do not misunderstand Livescribe is not just a pen. It consists of more parts that complement its functionality. Livescribe could be a peek into what the future holds for us. If Livescribe is not just a pen, then what is it and how to use Livescribe pens?
How to Use Livescribe Pens? What is it?
In the simplest manner and quoting Wikipedia terms “The Livescribe paper-based computing platform consists of a digital pen, digital paper, software applications, and developer tools.” This is true but not descriptive. This definition will help us understand what Livescribe pen is but it cannot tell us how it works, what it does, how to use Livescribe pens, and is it really useful for anyone involved in writing.
Livescribe is a complicated device made using basic components that make it useful. While the mechanics behind this device are complicated, it is very user-friendly. Its simplicity in work is not the same as the novelty put into it.
The Smart Pen
The Smartpen is probably the most integral part of the Livescribe platform. It is around (5/8″ x 6 1/8″) in weight and size. So it is not very uncomfortable to write with, which many potential buyers were concerned about. Every Smartpen comes with a ball-point ink cartridge, a microphone to record audio, a speaker for playback, a small OLED display, an infra-red camera, and internal flash memory that captures handwritten notes, audio and drawings.
That is a long list and not everyone is a tech geek. These specifications each have a role to play in the full functionality of how to use Livescribe pens.
A lot of us are slow writers and may have difficulty in taking down notes that being quickly spoken. The microphone of the Livescribe Smartpen allows a user to record everything that is being said. This is a godsend for many for example students who are unable to take notes and wish to record lectures for further references. There is a record button on the Smartpen that will enable this facility. It also has play and pause buttons for increased capability.
- OLED Display
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, this term has always been heard with televisions or desktops. The purpose of an OLED is to display pictures. In the Livescribe Smartpen system, it was used to tell whether the pen is or not. However, after two to three years of use, this was deducted from the design. This compelled users to rely on audio feedback alone. Many have complained to Livescribe about this. There is also no way to determine if the pen is actually recording audio without the OLED indications thus rendering useless one of its main functions.
- Infra-red Camera
The camera enables the most primary feature of the app that is capturing notes and displaying it on the software. Inside every Livescribe Smartpen, there is a camera that takes a picture of the notes you have written or as you are writing them. This can be very useful for transcribers as it will ease their difficulty in transferring the written word to the typed text. You can watch your notes appear instantly on whatever smart device that you have connected with the Livescribe pen. This feature has a lot of utility in both the corporate and academic word.
If you have a Smartpen then you will need a smarter paper that you can use it on. Livescribe has got that requirement covered. The Livescribe Smartpen is supported by the Livescribe dot paper. It is available in a variety of sizes. You are also allowed to print your own paper if you have a compatible laser printer. Every dotted notebook supported by the Livescribe Pen costs around 8$ per notebook. The question if the product is targeted towards students, does it make sense to have notebooks that cost more than average?
Livescribe Desktop Software
If we record notes, we expect to see them too, right? Livescribe Desktop Software allows this projection. The notes will appear just as they were written with the Livescribe pen. If you have used the audio recording you can use the software like the speech button in MS Word. You just have to place your cursor on a word and the audio playback will begin at that point. You can also search for a particular word and listen from there. You can add notes to your notebook at any time and then re-dock your pen to the computer. In many sense, this software is just like MS Word supported by Livescribe Smartpen.
The Livescribe is indeed an evolutionary technology, but is it safe to say that it can change writing forever? It might accelerate a gradual change but it will not bring a drastic transformation. To begin with, not everyone will be comfortable with buying this device and would choose to take notes rather than use a Smartpen to do so. Also, it is possible that academic institutions might not allow these devices. That said, we cannot underestimate what the Livescribe Smartpen has managed to achieve, a sense of development and growth,