A pen that can upload handwritten notes to a computer while recording audio notes that play along side them? Now there’s a thought.
It has been around for a while – since 2007 – and has been updated regularly, the latest being Livescribe Connect, which means you can share notes, by clicking the pen on the page of a special notepad, via Facebook, Evernote, Google docs or email.
Could this be a way of sending shorthand notes back to a newsroom? You can certainly send shorthand notes back, but you will still need a computer to do so.
So how does the Livescribe pen work and how is it of use to journalists?
A media release explains how the pen works:
Livescribe smartpens digitally capture everything you hear and everything you write in your special Livescribe notebook, notepad or paper that you can print out yourself. To play back important information you simply tap anywhere on your handwritten notes in your Livescribe notebook, and you can replay exactly what you could hear when you wrote them.
Your written notes can then be reviewed on screen as well as on paper. When you plug your pen into your Mac or PC, the pen strokes and audio get transferred together to your Livescribe desktop. And they stay in sync. You can then click any part of the on screen pen strokes to play the audio from that moment.
“There is an app called MyScript that will convert your writing into text, which can be purchased as an extra feature. along with lots of other news apps,” UK spokesperson for the US company, Charlotte Priest, told Journalism.co.uk.
An easier way of understanding how the pen works is to watch the video:
The compatibility with Facebook, Evernote and Googledocs certainly sounds appealing but there are a few draw backs.
The pens are not yet wifi or 3G enabled so require docking and, therefore, the journalist needs to be near a computer; the pdf created requires the latest version of Adobe Reader, which many people will not have.
A free pdf reader is available in the App Store to allow iPad owners to view and hear notes on the device. Although notes are searchable, this is not the case with shorthand so the pen does not offer a new way to search pages of a shorthand book.
The Livescribe pen starts at £99 for a 2GB model which can store 200 hours of audio.