Think of this situation: You are working for a Government Census department. As a part of the job, you are expected to manage a group of employees to collect the data, fill up their entry sheets and another group of employees to enter all that data in to the computer. It takes quite some time to complete the process. Now, if the employees collecting the data could use digital pens and digital papers, the data in the filled up forms could directly be uploaded in to the computers. It can even happen in real time via blue tooth connectivity to their cell phones. No, this is not science fiction 🙂
¤ Digital Pen looks, feels and writes like a normal ball point pen.
¤ But the difference with a digital pen is: It has inbuilt digital camera, microprocessor and memory.
¤ The digital camera takes pictures of what ever is being written (more than 50 pictures per second) to determine the exact position of the pen – what it writes, draws etc and it records such data.
¤ The digital pen even stores the time when each particular stroke was made and can determine which paper the pen was writing on.
¤ There is an inbuilt microprocessor to do complex operations and coordinate the collected data while the inbuilt memory is used to store up to 50 pages of data.
¤ Image processing techniques are used to recreate the characters and digits that are written by the pen, in digital format.
¤ The end result looks like a scanned copy of the original document, with all the hand written markings on it or the hand written data can be extracted and sent for further processing.
¤ The digital pen also has an inbuilt battery, that can be charged.
¤ The digital pen comes with a direct USB connectivity to PC to transfer all the pages with data that is already stored in the memory of the pen. There is a software that needs to be installed on the PC to receive and convert this data in to user readable format like pdf files etc.
¤ Alternately, the digital pen can communicate with a cell phone via bluetooth technology and instantly transfer data to the cell phone which can be transferred to the PC through GPRS/EDGE or any other data connectivity mode.
¤ A digital paper helps the digital pen in recognizing the pen strokes.
¤ It requires a pattern of dots, almost invisible to human eye, to be printed on it (along with the form content or separately) to aid in recording and reproduction of pen strokes.
¤ The pattern on each page has a unique identity so that the identity of any page can be established by the document interface software application.
¤ There is a limitation to the number of pages in which such patterns can be printed on normal papers by some vendors. This is limited by a software license that can be upgraded.
The digital pen and digital paper can be applied for the automation of filling up forms and entering the data in the computers, on a large scale. The patient records, which needs to be updated frequently could be done by the digital pen and digital paper so that it could be automatically uploaded in the computers. Surveys and customer feedback forms could be automated. A lot of Government processes could be automated. The applications are virtually unlimited. But the precision of automating such processes is quite vital as is the acceptance of the technology by the users. Probably companies could verify the technology against manual processes in their environments and then take it up if they find a good cost/time reduction and more importantly, high levels of accuracy.
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