Smartpens are quite interesting tangible devices which are able to record sketches and texts a users has written on a sheet of paper. So the smartpen is quite comparable to a normal pen, except that it remembers the users written lines as digital information. This information can then be transmitted to a digital storage and can be searched, tagged or reprinted whenever the user has the demand for that.

Smartpens additionally offer amazing features such as recording the spoken word in combination and in synchronization with your handwriting. So whenever you write down notes during a talk or a meeting, you can easily go to that handwriting position and replay the words that were spoken and discussed at this moment. This is definitely a very handy feature. Also to preserve your handwritten notes in a digital storage.

The technology behind this magic smartpens is called ‘dot positioning system’ and works with printed microdots printed on normal paper. These microdots are so small that you do not see any disturbing marks on your paper. These dots identify the exact location at the sheet of paper. So a smartpen can read out these dots with a infrared camera at the tip of the smartpen to track the position of the tip and can therefore record everything you write down.

An example for such a smartpen is produced by Livescribe and is called Echo or Pulse smartpens.