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Doing what it says on the tin

4 May, 2012 (09:58) | Data management, hand held records, Initiatives, Interoperability, Paper Records, workload | By: Helga Perry

Okay, this may seem like advertising, but it’s such a rare event for me to find a product that I think actually does what it says on the tin that I want to spread the word about it.

Yesterday (3rd May 2012) I attended HC2012 at the Business Design Centre in London. Among the exhibitors displaying their latest wares, my attention was drawn to something that I think could be a real game-changer and improve the way lots of us work.

There is currently much interest in digital pen technology, but the systems I’ve seen so far are still very cumbersome, require expensive hardware and software, including specially-prepared paper, and really only seem to me to shift the burden of data capture workload from one group of staff (midwives) to a middle party (transcription clerks) before anything recorded can be used in a meaningful way. It would be so much better (and cheaper) if ordinary paper could be used.

I think that the developers of e-WRITEMATE could be on to a winner. This system consists of a little device, about the size of a USB stick or bulldog clip, that you clip onto the top of your form which is on normal paper  (e.g. hand-held pregnancy notes).  You write on the form with an electronic stylus pen. It uses ultrasound technology to capture your handwriting. This captured data can be uploaded into a PC or smartphone via bluetooth and output as XML for use in other programs, databases etc. You can design your own form templates to use with it. The e-WriteMate device itself can store up to 200 A4 pages in its flash memory.

  1. design your form
  2. print form on normal paper
  3. with e-WriteMate device in place, fill in form
  4. form is processed – you can, of course, review and edit the data
  5. XML output is produced

 

e-WriteMate has a partner product called e-Diary, which allows you to write in a normal A5 notebook. Great for minute-taking!  I have acquired one of these and I love it.

They work in languages other than English too. Cool!

Further info

e-WriteMate and e-Diary have been developed in India by Hi-Tech Solutions and are available in Europe and the Middle East from EDC Creative Technology Solutions.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Comment from ashley
Time May 4, 2012 at 15:17

Interesting!

It sounds like it’s based on similar tech to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1225098940/ipen-the-first-active-stylus-for-ipad – do you think so?

What’s the approximate cost of the e-WRITEMATE? (I had a brief look at the EDC website but encountered errors.)

Does it work with a Mac?

Comment from ashley
Time May 4, 2012 at 15:27

Ooops I missed your earlier email, which says price per unit is about £130.

Another question: the expensive pen system I’ve seen uses special paper, and this enables the pen to identify *which* particular piece of paper it is writing on. I guess without that feature, you can’t alternate writing between two forms: once you’ve finished with form A and moved onto form B, form A is effectively fixed forever.

I like the sound of XML output, though. I believe the system I saw (when I briefly met a lecturer in Physics – he was using it to record lectures with much handwritten mathematics – I don’t know which system it was, sorry) has a closed output format… they provide Flash software for playback but if you want to process it some other way you are stuck.

Comment from Helga Perry
Time May 4, 2012 at 20:29

I heard some discussion at the trade stand about whether it works with Mac. My understanding is that development is in progress. It is possible to transmit data via bluetooth to iPhone/iPad, so hopefully the rest of Mac won’t be too far away.

Comment from John Meredith
Time June 15, 2012 at 11:33

Interesting concept but how can this compete with traditional Anoto compliant systems which are around half the price? Additionally, the technology enhancement seems to indicate that this is an inherently more complex device? If so, more prone to breakdown?
Also, those links don’t work 😉 to the Powerpoint.

Comment from admin
Time June 15, 2012 at 18:12

Thanks for the comment about the broken link – it’s fixed now.

Comment from Helga Perry
Time June 15, 2012 at 18:23

Anoto requires specially prepared writing surface with a dot pattern. See http://www.anoto.com/the-technology-1.aspx

Comment from admin
Time January 3, 2013 at 01:25

We’ve received notification that there’s a new UK website for e-Writemate and e-Diary: http://www.ediaryworld.co.uk

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