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Together with Magicomm and Nokia, IBM has created a digital pen and paper system to allow users to transmit written documents via a mobile phone or upload the information into a laptop. The pen has a unique ID in a similar fashion to an RFID tag. Data is time-stamped so updates of forms can be detected.
The digital pen has a built-in digital camera, an image-processing unit and a Bluetooth radio receiver. By writing over the special patterned paper, which consists of millions of tiny dots, it is possible to identify the exact location of the pen and deduce the words being written. The image processor then uploads all the resulting information into the pen's memory which can store several fully written pages.
The magic pen is already being used by organisations such as the Dorset Police force to reduce the amount of time spent filling in forms manually. Previously a paper-based form was filled out at the scene and then the information was entered into a PC back at the station. Now the information can be uploaded into the network automatically.