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VPen prototype beams handwritten text via Bluetooth

Marc Perton

vpenSmart pens have been slow to take off, mainly because most of them haven't exactly been all that smart. But that hasn't stopped developers from repeatedly attempting to create a pen that can take text written on paper and wirelessly transfer it to a PDA, laptop or other digital device. The latest to join the fold is the VPen, a prototype developed by European startup VIP DATA and funded by the EU's Information Society Technologies program with help from Philips. The VPen uses an optical scanner to read text as it's written, eliminating the need for specialized paper, and beams text to a nearby laptop or PDA via Bluetooth. OCR software converts handwritten text, and a one-line OLED display on the pen shows the current text being captured. Needless to say, it's an open question as to whether this will ever be commercialized — or whether it can achieve more market success than previous pens.


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