Earlier this week a couple of The Launch Pad team members participated in a meeting that was so choc-a-block full of useful information they decided they should share what they learned. Normally that would entail preparing a brief from the detailed meeting notes and then scheduling a follow up meeting to discuss what they heard. Fortunately, Shon, our Business Office Manager took notes using her Livescribe Smartpen and was able to “pencast” the meeting and effortlessly share her notes and an audio recording of the presentation with the rest of the staff.
Livescribe Smartpens enhance writing by recording and linking audio to handwriting. The pens contain a camera that is capable of shooting 70 frames per second. Used in conjuntion with special paper that has thousands of tiny dots on it, the camera records the dots that you connect with your pen strokes and then digitally recreates those marks on your computer. This allows the smartpen to know exactily where the pen tip is on any given page. The smartpen’s location is interpreted by software, and mapped to an app in the pen. The camera does not see ink written by a user but the smartpen tracks and remembers where ink is written, and knows the coordinates of items, marking them as “buttons”. It can then take these memories and associated them to the sound recordings that the included microphone picks up at the same time. If you are in a presentation and something interesting is said, simply write a word down to remind you of the comment and when you tap the word later, the recording from the moment you wrote it will play through the pen’s speaker. There is even a timeline on the Livescribe pad’s to help with navigation through recordings.
Notes and recordings aren’t confined to the memory of the pen or your local desktop Livescribe application. Using Livescribe Connect you can ping interactive PDFs to email, Google Docs, Facebook, Evernote and mobile apps including iPad. Download a app and you can use your smartpen as a mouse turning the dot paper notebooks into an extension of your computer screen to mark up presentations, slides and spreadsheets. You can even make interactive flash cards, study guides and talking books.
Smartpens are available with 2GB, 4GB and 8GB of recording time with prices ranging from $119.95 – $179.95. With over 200 hours of recording possible on the smaller version and double that for the 4GB one, you’re still unlikely to struggle for space. You can purchase the dotted tablets online or print sheets yourself using a Adobe PostScript compatible, 600dpi, colour laser printer. The Livescribe comes packed with the standard dot pad, an interactive start-guide that will teach you the basic functions, a tips and tricks guide, two caps, two ink cartridges, a micro-USB cable and free access to the Livescribe desktop software.
Because she used the Livescribe Smartpen in the meeting, Shon was able to concentrate on the presentation and take down key notes, knowing that the presentation would be available in full detail for others who weren’t able to attend.
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