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EPOS Reintroduces Digital Pen Technology

After an additional year of tinkering, EPOS has rescheduled the availability to OEMs of its ink-pen-based computer input device to early 2007.

The technology, called the Digital Pen, was developed by the Israeli-based EPOS and shown at the 2006 International CES with the intention shipping it by mid 2006. However, CEO Oded Turbahn said while that announcement was premature the company is now set to launch two versions of the pen during the first quarter of 2007.

The first product expected to be made available features a pen with integrated digital acoustic and infrared transmitters and a receiver that clips onto the side or top of a standard letter size piece of paper and is connected to a PC or notebook via a USB cable. The pen’s position is continuously transmitted and relayed to the computer where the writing is displayed using an EPOS created software application called Pen and Ink. The document can then be saved in a Pen and Ink document format, which is transferable to Microsoft Word and other familiar formats.

Turbahn said the OEMs can work out deals with third party writing recognition software makers so the handwritten notes can be translated into text.

The pen uses standard ink replacements and the battery is good for 200 hours of use. It is expected to carry a sub-$50 price point.

The next iteration will not require attachment to a computer, but will instead store the handwriting data onto a USB flash memory drive that is integrated with the receiver portion of the kit. The flash drive/receiver is then connected to a computer and the data downloaded.

Turbahn would expect it to sell for under $80.

EPOS intends to let the OEMs handle all marketing and distribution issues citing the fact that EPOS is too small to take on such tasks, plus those areas are outside its area of expertise which is positioning technology.

EPOS is now working to bring its positional technology to other product category, including computer touchscreens and an interactive whiteboard for presentation purposes. The acoustic positional technology could be placed on the perimeter of a display to track the stylus as it crosses the screen. Turbahn said this could greatly reduce the cost of touch screen manufacturing.