Gadgets: A digital pen that writes and records

  • Updated: December 21, 2013 - 5:30 PM

a digital pen that writes and records

Livescribe 3, $150,

In the Venn diagram showing People Who Prefer to Take Notes on Paper along with the People Who Want to Store Their Notes Digitally, the overlap is People Who Might Buy a Livescribe 3 pen.

Without a doubt, the pen contains some amazing technology. A tiny camera inside the device records the ballpoint pen’s movement across special dotted paper. Everything you write or draw during a conversation, interview, meeting or lecture on the dotted paper is transmitted to a nearby iPad or iPhone running the free Livescribe app. You can convert the handwritten notes to text and tag sections with keywords.

But it gets better. The pen also can record a conversation or lecture. And if you want to go back to a specific section of the audio, perhaps to check that you wrote the correct word, just tap the stylus (on the other end of the pen) on that word in your notes. The audio recording will be played back from that point.

You will have to carry the iPad or iPhone along with the special notepad if you want an aural recording of the session. But other annoyances of earlier versions of the Livescribe, now in its fourth version, have been worked out. The glossy black pen is well-balanced and comfortable to use, like a large Mont Blanc. The special dot paper is now widely available in various formats like bound journals, pads and even sticky notes, and isn’t much more expensive than regular paper.

a video game lets toddlers play pilot

Tiny Plane, $25,

It has been said that it’s never too early to start children in a sport if you envision them growing up to go pro. Apparently that is true for big-league video gaming as well.

ZowPow Toys is helping toddlers get an early start with a plush toy that controls a video game app called Tiny Plane. The object is to pilot a plane through a crowded sky, flying through fruit and coins and avoiding hazards like thunderclouds and floating mines. To control the plane (on Apple iPhones, iPods and iPads), players tilt the $25 plush Tiny Plane toy up to make it climb, or down to descend.

The game speeds up as it goes, compounding the difficulty. Accrued points can be traded for new planes with different advantages, like being unaffected by storms.


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