Hanwah Japan's Duo for laptop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 March, 2009, 12:00am

It's a pen. It's a touch-screen PC. It's the Duo for Laptop digital pen from Hanwah Japan. While there are lots of laptops with touch screens these days, there are also lots of us who haven't upgraded to the new models yet.

What the Duo for Laptop offers is the option of a pen-based interface to input information into your PC. It isn't exactly the same as a touch-screen PC because you can't click on icons or navigate menus by using the pen, but it does let you use handwriting to input notes and drawings.

The system works by combining infrared and ultrasonic technology between a sensing unit and the pen to correlate the position of your movement and then translate that to an application. To use the Duo for Laptop, you place the sensing unit, or receiver, on the top of your screen and start writing.

The system will also work on any flat surface as long as you are writing or drawing in between the receiver's two sensors.

According to the company, the system works with MSN Messenger, Word, Excel - and presumably other Office applications as well - by acting as the freehand pen in those applications. However, it doesn't translate what you write into typed text, like some tablet PCs.

The Duo for Laptop is currently only available in Japan for ?9980, or about HK$820, but you should be able to find similar systems at your nearest computer mall until it arrives.

Pros: lets you use a pen to take notes on your laptop

Cons: only supports laptops with screens bigger than 15.4 inches, so not compatible with netbooks

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