Why Technical English

Discussion – The Digital Pen | November 12, 2008

Dear friends of Technical English,

Nowadays high technologies are everywhere around us. Even a well-known pen, which everybody uses, is supposed to serve us better when becoming digital. The main idea of the wireless digital pen is to capture handwriting and convert it from a graphical form into text, and then transmit it to a nearby digital device for storage or further transmission.

As everything the digital pen has its advantages and drawbacks. We have started to discuss the topic concerning the digital pen in the course of English lessons at the Technical University in Prague. The students´ positions, above all else regarding to the pen necessity and its applicability maybe its practicability, differ from each other very much. Below you will find two students´ positions, which are at opposite ends of the opinion spectrum.

In the beginning the digital pen seemed to me quite needless. However, I gradually took the position that it could be beneficial. Now it is your turn to signify your attitude.

And first of all answer please the question:

Do we really need the digital pen?

The detailed description of the digital pen is given on http://www.flyworld.com/whatis/index.html


Enjoy the texts and put your opinion into comments. Thank you in advance.Good luck!

Galina Vitkova

Mightier than the Pen

By Vít Bejček

From the course of history we can see what an important invention is the pen. Maybe it is the greatest invention ever made. It’s logical that we are trying to develop a more sophisticated device than a usual ink pen. I agree with the idea of improving the current pen, but I am afraid this research is running in wrong direction. The most of the world is now advanced and a very large percentage of population is connected to the Internet or at least have own computers. It might seem that the digital pen is a necessary technology in present days and life without it would be beyond imagination. But if we really think about it, could you imagine at least one practical thing for which the pen could be used? I cannot do so.

What is expected from the pen? It has to be cheap to avoid fear of losing it, small and easily movable and always ready for use in any circumstances. This digital pen seems to be a mobile device, but the truth is different. We cannot use it without proper connection to the computer system. The price is another disadvantage. I am afraid that the digital pen cannot meet requirements of common users. In my opinion the technology like the digital (electronic) pen is not ready to be released.

Digital Pen

By Robert Arzumanov

Anoto comes from Sweden. It is an invention of Swedish engineers. Anoto is a unique pen that can convert human’s handwriting into a digital form. It also has a unique design. The pen looks like the normal one, but in fact it isn’t. Anoto uses wireless technologies to transmit handwriting to a computer. It has the Parker patented golden nib and wooden body and weighs only 30 grammes.

The meaning of that outstanding pen is to enable a user to transmit the written text to a computer and also save it in its normal form – on a paper. The paper is not usual – it’s special paper with a pattern of almost invisible dots, 0.1 mm across that are printed on its surface. The pen is equipped with a tiny camera that scans the pattern of dots in order to see where the pen is going. The pattern consists of two areas – one for making notes and the other for ticking the box that says “Send this note as an e-mail” or “Send this note as a fax”. Anoto developers predict that, one day, consumers will look at adverts in newspapers and magazines, and tick Anoto – patterned boxes on them saying “Buy this” or “ Send more information”.

The pen can be useful for school and university teachers, in some scientific laboratories, for mass media workers: reporters, editors and so on.

Anoto can be used by students at schools and universities for writing tests or essays as class work. It is more comfortable to solve mathematical problems, count something and write essays on paper than on a computer, but its incomparably easier to correct tests in digital form. So teachers can solve their time problem – they don’t need so much time to „encode“ what is written on a paper. People can share messages internationally – they don’t need to have a computer or PDA or even a mobile with them. They are only to write it down on a sheet of paper and choose ”send as E-mail”. Anoto can solve a lot of problems and help to increase the world’s integration, can break barriers in human communication.

Anoto is better than conventional products because it has elegant unique design, it is more comfortable in use, it allows customers to send written messages as e-mail or a fax, it has a very comfortable body and the unique Parker patented golden nib. Don’t hesitate and order your Anoto through the Internet on AnotoDigitalPenor call 00123456789. You also will get 50 sheets of our special paper absolutely for free!



  1. I think we don’t need digital pen but it might be a cool piece of stuff. I would use it at school for taking notes insted of bringing my notebook:-)

    Comment by Matyáš Richter — November 19, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  2. Thank you for your contribution. As to me, I would buy the digital pen if it was reliable and didn´t cost much. I could use it when I am not in Prague.
    G. Vitkova

    Comment by gvitkova — November 19, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  3. The digital pen is useless for me, I´m satisfied with the old one. I can see some disadvantages, e.g. you must have this pen connected to another device (for transferring and storing your written data) and both are energy-consumable, so you must be prepared for changing or charging installed baterries . This fact reduces usage and mobility of the digital pen.

    Comment by Jan Sládek — November 19, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

  4. I nearly agree with the first article, this technology is not ready to be released. In my opinion ‘old’ classic ‘ink’ pen is almost ageless.

    Comment by Petr Rys — November 19, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

  5. I think that novadays digital pens are quite useful. It stores data in internal memory, so that you needn’t have a notebook. And changing batteries is not a problem for me. In ink pen you also have to change cartridge for some period.
    I can see disadvantage in a smaller ink cartrige (you might have to change it more frequently), in a price (you will be upset when you lose it) and in software equipment (we don’t have only one platform or operating system).

    I would like to buy it, if it would be cheaper.

    Comment by Michal Horn — November 22, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  6. I think that digital pens have a big future. But nowadays it’s unusable for common users. The price is too high and the range of usage is quite limited. But I think that in several years it will be as common as mobile mobiles or PDAs.

    Comment by Vojtěch Hovorka — November 22, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

  7. As I already said in my essay, digital pen is step backward, not forward.
    It would be interesting to know, how many people ever had some sort of digitizer in their hand – you know, its not that simple, to write on tablet or tablet PC. And hey, these are not gadgets, but tools already proven in time.
    I personally own tablet (for drawing) and believe me, its definitely not for handwriting. Ordinary pen is 100% more intuitive and more ergonomic, than any digitizer would ever be.
    As for technology – digitizers use sort of special surface, which allows them to precisely determine position of tip (capacitive, resistence), and even than, resolution could be better. This tools costs quite much, if you consider, that it depends on these helpful surfaces, so imagine how expensive will be equivalent pen usable on ANY surface.

    Comment by Michal Elias — November 22, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

  8. Tbh I am pretty neutral towards using it, maybe just for the moment..Well, the ease of use ain’t best afaik 🙂 but in the future , yeah, whatever , it can be usefull for taking notes without any need of big notepad. Other good thing is you also don’t have to bring special notepads for certain subjects.
    Just I cannot imagine how you see your notes or how you remove them, maybe the special paper is required as well. Anyway, I think voice recognizing is the better technology, but that is for another discussion.

    Comment by Miroslav Čermák — November 22, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  9. change usefull to useful and other possible mistakes as well =)

    Comment by Miroslav Čermák — November 22, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

  10. My opinion is quite similar to the one from M.Elias. I have some experience with Tablet PC too. My brother uses it to finish scanned pictures he draw. In that case digital pen could stand for tablets, but using it instead of ink pen ? I think a keyboard is great for taking notes in digital form, otherwise this pen can be good for taking notes from math, when you can´t write so fast on keyboard then with your hand. This pen could have some fans, who love new things, but ordinary people will use ordinary pens as long they are produced.

    Comment by Vít Smetana — November 23, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  11. From my opinion I´m not real fan of digital pen. Why should we try improve something what have been evolved few thousands of years and became something almost perfect? I think that in this field is digitalization wrong way or at least needless way.Who really need digital pen?Maybe we should start thinking what kind of things need improvement and which are perfect as they are and every try is just wasting of valuable time.

    Comment by Jiri Filandr — November 24, 2008 @ 11:28 am

  12. In my opinion the digital pen is useful only for special purposes as drawing. It could be useful for teacher who describes some picture or scheme on projector. But I think most people, incuding me, will use ordinary ink pen because nowadays there is no reason for them to use digital pen.

    Comment by Pavel Jícha — November 24, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  13. In my opinion the technology isn’t ready for public use yet. It’s too expensive and most people don’t need anything more then classic pen. Maybe in future it will be used more but I don’t think so.

    Comment by Adam Hřebačka — November 24, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  14. The concept of text recognition is great breakthrough I think. I see the future of digital pen especially in combination with digital paper which was yet invented. But described Anoto concept does not make much sense to me.

    Comment by Jiří Brabec — November 25, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  15. In my opinion, so far, this technology is quite useless, good-old ink pen is more than enough)).

    Comment by Arzumanov Eduard — November 25, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  16. I totally agree with Adam. I think this piece of technology is good just for few people using it for drawing or whatever, but not for ordinary people… They do not need it. I think that input devices will be developed (and then used by public) in another way than this pen. Futhermore, it is absolutely unusable for me as even I have problems to recognise my handwriting ^^

    Comment by chipso — November 25, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  17. In my opinion we don’t need digital pen. Common pen is cheap and it doesn’t use battery like digital pen. So we can use it everytime and everywhere.

    Comment by Ota Chasák — November 25, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  18. The digital pen is for me a useless device, but I have understanding for this technical inovation. I think it is useful to invent new technologies (even for such old inventions as a pen is). They can bring us a new point of view to another technical problems.

    Comment by Radek Doubrava — November 25, 2008 @ 11:27 am

  19. I think, I don’t need digital pen in this form which is described in the article, because when I want to use pen, i usually want to write or draw something. In this case I preffer tablets or touch screens, because I can see what I’m drawing and I don’t need paper. This technology has many disadvantages for example small dots on paper – you must use special paper, which is more expensive…

    Comment by Peter Janus — December 6, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  20. Last week I alluded to a very interesting article about „Using digital pens to program welding tasks“ by authors J.N. Pires, T. Godinho, R. Araújo, which was published in the journal „Industrial Robot: An International Journal“ in 2007 (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/01439910710832075).
    Authors used the digital pen and paper based on the technology Anoto for specification of manufacturing tasks and thereafter programming robots for small and medium enterprises. This technology allowed the user to make technical drawings on a sheet of paper thereby creating simpler and more user-friendly alternatives for the programming, parameterisation and commanding actions. Fully working prototypes were developed to investigate the issues in coherence of typical SME applications.

    Comment by gvitkova — December 15, 2008 @ 10:55 pm

  21. Digital pen is in my opinion deep past. Future is in voice recognition and transformation to text. But digital pen is neccessary step to the new voice recognition age.

    Comment by Jan Herych — December 18, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  22. […] text stored digitally. The best known of these use technology developed by Anoto (see also Discussion – The Digital Pen), which has had some success in the education market. The general success of these products is yet […]

    Pingback by Handwriting recognition and Windows 7 « Why Technical English — December 25, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  23. […] Discussion – The Digital Pen   […]

    Pingback by Changing the theme of this blog « Why Technical English — August 26, 2010 @ 9:30 am

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    Comment by rozlakowe — December 24, 2013 @ 12:26 am

    • Thank you. This problem seems to be very attractive till now. To yout success
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      Comment by gvitkova — December 25, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

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