A digital pen is writing tool that allows users to digitally record handwritten notes or drawings. Some digital pens may also be able to record sound while a user is writing. As such, though digital pens may resemble regular pens in form, their functions are much more complex.
Usually, digital pens come equipped with a Universal Serial Bus (USB). This is intended to make the uploading of notes and audio to a personal computer easy. Some higher-end models of pens may not require USB ports at all, however, instead relying on Bluetooth technology to wirelessly download the notes onto a personal computer or cell phone.
The features of a digital pen may depend on the specific model purchased. Some manufacturers may require that special digital paper be used in conjunction with the pen for it to function. Digital paper can come in standard or sticky note size, and it may be dotted with special receptors to let the pen perceive what has been written on the paper. Some pens may be able to function without the need for special pads or receivers, however.
Modern digital pens contain memory chips that can save at least 40 pages of paper. The pages may be converted into GIF or JPEG image files or proprietary images files created by the manufacturer. Connecting the digital pen to a USB port or using Bluetooth can allow the pen to transfer the image files onto a computer or Bluetooh-enabled device. Manufacturers may include software with their digital pens that allows users to edit the images and modify preferences, such as selecting which folder into which files are saved.
Some digital pens may boast special features. For example, a digital pen may be able to help correct notes. If a user comes across an illegible part of his notes, he may be able to click on the illegible part so that audio of the lecture plays and helps him determine what he intended to write. In addition, some pens may be able to translate a user's handwriting into digital text.
Digital pens are becoming popular amongst students, who are typically expected to take accurate, detailed notes and reference them later. Depending on the type of digital pen purchased, a student may be able to take notes, record lectures, and then download both to his computer. The pens may then help the student to save paper and double-check his notes against the lecture's audio component.