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(Pocket-lint) - Getting the latest copy of your meeting notes into the computer can be a pain. Take each page, place it on to the scanner, press the scan button, wait a few minutes, then do the same again for the next five to 10 pages. Suddenly half an hour has gone by and you wonder whether it was really worth it.

Logitech hope to change all this with some “magic” paper and a special pen. No they are not planning to send David Copperfield around to your house every time you want to use this new device.

The IO pen seems to perform magic every time you connect it to its docking station. How does it manage to do this? Simple when you know how.

It works by using a specific type of paper (currently printed by Post-it notes, Filofax and Oxford) than has hundreds of faint dots on it. The pen has a scanner above the nib, and this records the dots as you theoretically join them up. When you eventually dock the IO Pen into the accompanying docking station that information is transferred to the software and then reformed.

Information, once in your computer can be reviewed with the accompanying software as well as being transferred to a word document or image file. The software even has built in support for Desktop Post-it notes so you can remind yourself of thing to do.

The package is shipped with trial handwriting recognition software so you can transfer your handwritten scrawl into computer text - something that as you can imagine would be very useful - however currently this is only 80% correct and really comes across as an after thought - it didn’t even ship with the American version.

The pen itself is larger than average and from this you can still tell this technology is in its early stages - after all it houses the biro refill, the scanner and a rechargeable battery.


When someone stated that we needed to strive for a paperless office, we all chuckled with whimsical wishes. Logitech has taken this love for the paper and the humble pen turned the problem on its head - trying hard to seamlessly integrate the two with the IO Pen.

The overall result is mixed. As an application for easily sharing hand written notes and diagrams with colleagues it works very well and saves the old method of document scanners. As a new technology, however, you can’t help but feel this is still in its early stages - improvements in forthcoming versions would benefit from a reduction in the pen size and better hand recognition software that actually works. Until then, this is nice to look at, but maybe not nice enough to invest in.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 12 November 2003.