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REVIEW: Seiko Instruments InkLink Handwriting System
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 25.10.02 - 13:13:00 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 14353x
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The Seiko Instruments InkLink is a tool for instantly capturing your handwriting or drawings directly to your Pocket or Palm, Laptop, or Desktop PC.
It's easy to use, works on ordinary paper up to legal size and easily clips onto 50 page tablets. Plus, InkLink comes with its own carrying case that fits in a pocket or purse.

InkLinkUsing Seiko's exclusive Binaural Technology, the InkLink Data Clip continuously listens for communications from the InkLink pen while it tracks the natural movement of your hand. As you write anywhere on the paper pad with the InkLink pen, the InkLink Data Clip reads precisely the location of the pen tip and communicates its exact position to your handheld, laptop or desktop PC.

Sounds complicated? Well, InkLink is about as difficult to use as a paper clip. With InkLink, all you have to do is think it, ink it, and link it.

After you've installed the drivers on your Pocket PC you can start configuring it. Just clip the Data Clip to a peace of paper and select the infrared port of your Pocket PC and clip the infrared eye of InkLink to your Pocket PC.

While the infrared transceiver fits perfect on an Compaq iPAQ or a Casio E-200 it doesn't works with the o2 xda. Here you have to remove the clip and put the infrared eye beside the xda.

Now you are ready for the first test if your Pocket PC recognize InkLink.

Here you get the x and y coordinates of the pen while moving over the paper. If this functional test doesn't work you have to re-configure the InkLink software or make to sure the the IrDA transceiver fits.

Now it's time for the first writing and drawing experiences. Does InkLink really transfers everything you wrote to the Pocket PC?

The result is pretty impressive. InkLink really captures everything you are writing on the paper, doesn't care what. It records your notes as well as any drawings.

You can also select the digital pen color which enables you to write and draw with different colors to highlight what ever you want.

The Hardware
The Seiko InkLink contains three items: the electronic ball-point pen, the Data Clip and the IrDA transceiver.

The ball-point pen transmit every move on the paper to the Data Clip while the pen is depressed. This works mostly pretty accurate and I haven't noticed any drop-outs in my tests so far. However you have to be sure that you've squeezed the pen because only than the current location is transmitted to the receiver.

On the other end of the pen you have a plastic stylus to be used on your Pocket PC screen (right picture above)

It includes also a carrying case which keeps all the hardware save.

Final Conclusion

The package contains everything you need to start, from the drivers to the required batteries for the pen and the Data Clip. The software installation is easy doing but finding the right infrared settings took a little bit longer because you have to disable infrared beaming in the Pocket PC menu, something you have to know, otherwise you are going crazy. Because the Data Clip have to be attached on the upper left corner it doesn't works all the time for lefties because you can occlude the sensor if you are writing on the right side of the paper. Here I wish to see a leftie option which means you could clip the Data Clip on the right corner.

Beside this everything works proper and it recognize your drawing pretty well. Unfortunately InkLink doesn't work with Transcriber which mean your writing isn't converted but recorded as drawings only. This is something I would like to see for version 2. Also connecting the IrDA transceiver with the Pocket PC is a little but fumbling and I would prefer to see a direct connection to the COM port of the Pocket PC. The most perfect improvement for a version 2 would be Bluetooth support for sure and here I see another major improvement!

All together the InkLink concept really impressed me and it's more useful than Seiko's SmartPad. It's a real alternative for keyboard solution because - to be honest - most of the notes in meeting you are writing with your pen. And who didn't know this situation where you starts copying the notes/tasks after a meeting to share it with co-workers. With the InkLink you can share it right though an E-Mail from your Pocket PC. This might be also interesting for students. ;-)

InkLink costs US$ 99.95 and is available from Seiko Instruments online shop!

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information] [Buy Here]


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