A technology unveiled Friday by Ericsson and startup Anoto will allow hand-written notes to be sent over the Internet from a mobile phone. The Anoto technology is one of the first useful applications of Bluetooth.
Anoto consists of a pen that writes in normal ink on a piece of digital paper that has a proprietary printed pattern, which can be expressed as X-Y co-ordinates. The pen contains a digital camera, image processing unit and a Bluetooth radio transceiver.
When writing on the paper the camera takes digital snapshots of the grid, allowing it to calculate its position in relation to the paper and store a virtual image of the writing in the pen's memory. This can be wirelessly transferred, via Bluetooth, to a mobile phone, PC or PDA.
The company hopes to establish an open standard for digital paper and has issued an open invitation to other companies to develop products around the technology.
Anoto president and ceo Christer Fahraeus confidently predicts "this new technology might have a similar penetration to that of mobile phones in less than five years. There will be an enormous market for innovative products of this kind."
The first commercial devices are expected to be available by next year. It is expected to retail for around £60, although Ericsson believes that the price will fall through network operator subsidies.
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