As consumers hold their breath for the rumored Apple tablet, KCI Communications has an immediate and possibly better solution for those who can't wait to get touchy-feely with their screens.
The Duo turns monitors and laptops 17 inches or smaller into a tablet. A small device that acts as a "base station" clips onto the top of the monitor, continuously picking up the user's input with the Duo pen. Lee Jae-jun, head of research and development at KCI Communications, explains the technology: "The pen's coordinates are calculated by the amount of time it takes for the infrared and ultrasonic waves to be reflected from the base station."
The user can write or draw directly on the screen in eight different languages, marking up Web pages, documents, or PowerPoint presentations while using the pen to navigate through the desktop. One of the more remarkable features is that the Duo also converts into a ballpoint pen, letting the user take notes on traditional paper and watch them appear in the included NoteTaker software.
Earlier this year, we reviewed Canson's Papershow, a dedicated paper-to-screen device that's mostly aimed at professionals who want to conduct interactive PowerPoint presentations. A similar gadget is the LiveScribe Smartpen, which is geared toward students, linking audio to written text. But the Duo appears to be is the first device to capture ink and convert a plain monitor into a touch screen. … Read more