MAC users Now Have Handwriting Recognition Thanks to PULSE SmartPen and MyScript

The Pulse SmartPen uses old fashioned ink to write down notes but merges modern electronics to define a new line of personal electronic device. For starters, the pen has a built-in microphone and speakers for dictation and playback. It is equipped with 1 to 2 gigabytes of flash memory for storing dictations and handwriting.

LiveScribe, SmartPen’s maker, sells special paper printed with microdots that essentially transforms the paper’s writing surface into a grid. SmartPen has an infrared camera that scans the microdots and records SmartPen’s motion against the paper. The microdot pattern is a special arrangement of dots that is unique to the surface of the paper. What this does is that any point on the writing surface is given a unique grid address. When the pen is moving on the paper, the microdots scanned by the camera is converted into addresses which are the data stored in SmartPen’s memory.

LiveScribe Desktop is the software running on your PC or Mac that takes care of the data stored in SmartPen’s memory. A USB connection is needed to download SmartPen’s data into the computer. Out of the box, the desktop application does not support handwriting to text conversion.

MyScript is a plugin to the LiveScribe Desktop software application. The plugin takes care of converting recorded handwriting into text.  Recently available for Windows computers only, Mac users will now have a chance to try MyScript’s for 30 days by downloading it on www.visionobjects.com.

Using MyScript, one can download handwriting stored in SmartPen’s memory and display it on the screen. Using the Convert to Text tool, handwriting is converted to editable text that can be used later by word processors and other software. Conversion is best done with neat and legible handwriting.

The main difference between SmartPen’s technology and a tablet PC with a stylus is that SmartPen is a stand-alone object. You can actually do useful work using the pen alone – write notes, scribble some drawings, or even record dictation.

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