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Qualcomm Automatically Transcribes the Written Word with Ultra Sound NotePad

As an avid user of pencils, I’ve long wished for a viable way to quickly digitize my handwritten work. Sure, styli-compatible smartphones and tablets are one answer, but far as digital note-making has come, it still hasn’t advanced sufficiently enough to supplant my trusty graphite.

Qualcomm thinks it might have a solution to my and like-minded others’ problem: pen-monitoring devices that automatically copy written work. The company’s approach uses microphones embedded within a tablet or smartphone to pick up ultrasonic vibrations emitted from a digital pen. The recordings are then processed by the tablet/smartphone CPU and interpreted as onscreen movement, so that whatever is drawn on paper is mirrored on the device. The technology appears to be one of many new features that Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 805 can take advantage of.

This demo isn’t new, exactly – Qualcomm first previewed the technique in 2011. Still, it’s an undeniably easier way to copy paper than using a Xerox machine, so I’m for it. 

This technology and more will be on display at CES, which starts next week.

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