I can't help but pine for technology that doesn't fully exist. Many times I will get an idea of what I would like to have, like a watch that records my blood pressure throughout the day and sends me the information in a useful graph. Maybe it could even link up to my planner so I would be able to see what events spike or lower my blood pressure. Unfortunately, no such luck—yet.
It's this kind of thinking that prompted me to look at the company Livescribe. Livescribe's goal is to connect pen and paper into the digital world. They do this by having an infrared camera in the pen, so when you write on a special paper covered with little blue dots, it uses these dots as reference points to record what you write down. Not only that, but they've ingeniously attached a microphone.
Audio and visual information is recorded with their smartpen, the Pulse, and they're newest smartpen, the Echo. Though the two are for the most part functionally the same, the Echo is able to hold more storage space with 8 GB. You can download the audio content recorded in the pen and convert it into different audio files. The visual content can be downloaded on your computer and then sent as a PDF. But where Livescribe goes a step beyond is by combining the two into what's called a Pencast. In a Pencast, you see what is being written down as the audio is playing, synching the two together. Now Apple has developed a free app that let's you play Pencasts on your iPad, iPhone, or iTouch, making this information even easier to share with others.
If my company, Journyx, was filled with smartpens around the office, imagine what that would be like. Audio could be played back, sped up or slowed down after meetings, allowing every piece of information to be recorded and understood. Co-workers can be given the audio of a recent meeting to play back on their iTunes. And it's so easy to share all information recorded. I'll keep dreaming of fantastical technology to come, but it's nice to see that some dreams do exist. Thanks, Livescribe.
Curt is the CEO of Journyx, who helps customers acheive per-person, per-project profitability.