A lot of time when you peruse through details of emerging technologies it’s difficult to see either a point to the technology or, worse still, a date when a genuinely useful technology will become available. However, the Livescribe Java pen happily bypasses both of these bugbears. Available now, it already has some ingenious applications.
The Java enabled pen not only records audio as you type, but it maps that audio to whatever you scribe using the pen. You can write on the paper pad, and the device maps audio clips so that they exactly match the section of text you’re writing. By clicking on a word, or bullet point that you wrote, the pen will then play back the appropriate section of audio. But, that really is only the beginning.
Because the pen is Java powered it can be customised and developed to do virtually anything. One application that has already been created is an instant translator. Once the pen is running the translator, it instantly recognises the words that you write on the pad and you can then select a language and click on any of the words or a passage of text and get an immediate translation into any language.
The pen includes 1GB or 2GB of memory, depending on which model you purchase and an OLED display tells you how much audio you have currently recorded and where in that audio you are currently. Developer kits are also available so there will certainly be some excellent packages available to complement the translator.
Obvious examples include lectures and business meetings. You can keep written notes throughout either, and if they fail to make sense when you read them back just click on the section that you’re struggling with and play the audio back. You can even translate your notes, should you need to.
The dot paper that is provided uses a patented dot positioning system to accurately and quickly track what you write and combines with the pen to produce a product with serious potential.
There’s even a developer’s workshop on the Livescribe website that includes templates and instructional information so that developers can create their own content without any prior programming knowledge. I don’t expect every household to have one, but it is truly ingenious and plainly has some serious possibilities.