Rumblings of a smart watch and self-righting iPhones with thrusters and airfoils have recently been the hot rumors coming out of Apple's ever-fertile batch of patent applications. Well, chalk up another addition to that list, this time in the form of a smart pen.
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The new patent details a computer embedded within a standard pen euipped with a small LCD display for sending and receiving emails, texts and alerts. Here's how the application describes it:
A portable computer arranged to rest comfortably in the hand has a small display screen. Accelerometers capable of detecting movement of the pen with respect to gravity provide input to a microcontroller which selects a response from a number of viewing modes. The pen may be held in either hand and the output message to the screen will be oriented according to the location of the pen. Full personal digital assistance functionality may be incorporated in a relatively small plastics casing and functions, such as calendar, contacts the like may be incorporated.
The device would reportedly include a microphone, speaker and rechargeable battery, along with cellular or GPS technology for wireless communication. Besides the meh-inducing functions such as a calculator and clock, most intriguing are the smart pen's proposed handwriting recognition capabilities. Users wouldn't need to write on a surface, instead they could just write in mid-air.
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The smart pen could effectively be used as a PDA or an on-the-go word processor and would even include voice recognition. Regardless of whether any of Apple's proposed ideas see the light of day, the writing seems to be on the wall: portable, personal computers are being embedded into just about everything.