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Digital Pens

The days of recording into a dictaphone or transcribing handwritten notes one keystroke at a time are long behind us. Today's digital pens use smart technology that automatically digitizes whatever you write and stores it or transfers it to a mobile device. They're a great choice for artists and students alike, though the field's offerings can still be a little buggy.

5 Best Digital Pens

Putting Pen To Paper

Many of us know what it feels like to write something important down on a piece of paper only to deal with the frustration of losing it five minutes later and looking all over the place to find it again. But what if there was a way to ensure that anything you wrote down could be captured and stored electronically? If that were the case, then your budding student would no longer be able to use the old "dog ate my homework" excuse to get out of an assignment. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the idea is a unique segue into a discussion of the digital pen and its usefulness in today's age of technology.

The digital pen is a battery-operated writing or scanning tool capable of electronically capturing and storing handwritten notes, blocks of text, or drawings to upload to a computer. The device is often used in conjunction with interactive paper to create digital handwritten documents that can be edited at a later time. The pen works in a similar fashion to the way an optical mouse functions, but with one key difference. Whereas a mouse tracks individual hand movements by reflecting its bottom-mounted LED off of a desktop, the digital pen tracks similar movements using the same type of light along with invisible patterns of lines on interactive paper.

Most digital pens have a series of components in common that allow them to work. When moved across digital paper, a refill leaves an ink trail in the same way that a conventional pen does on normal paper. This allows you to keep track of what you've already jotted down. However, the computer won't process the ink trail, as it is only for the user's benefit. Other components common to the tool include infrared LEDs and light detectors. These are usually found at the base of the pen. The infrared LED shines onto the digital paper, while the light detector picks up the reflections from that LED coming from the dots or marks on the paper itself. The pen is also equipped with an internal microchip that is used to interpret those reflection patterns in order to store images of the words you write. Some digital pens also feature Bluetooth antennas that transmit your stored data wirelessly to your computer.

Besides giving your kid fewer excuses to get out of doing his homework, the tool is extremely user-friendly. It can be used in much the same way as a conventional pen, but with the added assurance that you'll always have a backup for what you've written. Additionally, it comes in handy when working in extreme environments. If you're outdoors, for example, and in the cold or heat, holding a tablet and stylus would become quite difficult. The digital pen provides a more convenient way to capture and store information using a compact tool without carrying around bulky equipment that is also sensitive to extreme temperatures. Unlike a PC or cell phone, the digital pen also minimizes the number of distractions for the user, keeping them concentrated on the task at hand.

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