Back-to-school arsenal: Pulse Smartpen

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    The Pulse Smartpen captures both written notes and voice recordings.
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Part pen. Part microphone. Part robot secretary.

The Pulse Smartpen tries to simplify note taking in several next-gen ways.

– Everything you write with the pen is stored in its internal computers. At the end of the day, plug it into a computer and upload all of your notes. Pulse's software then allows you to search your handwritten notes a la Google and send copies to friends and classmates. The Smartpen even captures diagrams and doodles, obviating the need for a scanner and saving students from the stress of losing notes to unwanted spills.

– A built-in microphone records lectures, interviews, and discussions. The pen then links what it heard to what you wrote. Tap on an indecipherable squiggle or incomplete thought and Pulse will queue up whatever was going on at the time then play it out loud over its speaker system. Those cross references carry over to the uploaded computer files, as well.

– The company's special, but unfortunately expensive, notepads feature a control strip at the bottom of each page. Click the 2-D buttons to record, stop, rewind, or bookmark key moments.

Interested? The Smartpen costs between $150 and $200, depending on its internal hard drive. The proprietary notebooks sell for $20 to $25. Here's a full review and video walkthrough from our friends at the NYTimes:

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