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Portables Hardware

'Cut and Paste' Is Out, 'Pick and Drop' Is In 327

Roland Piquepaille writes "How do you exchange a file with a colleague or a photograph with a family member? Chances are that you cut the desired element and paste it into your e-mail program to send it. Now, imagine yourself in a meeting, picking a file on your PDA with a digital pen and using the same pen to drop it on your friend's laptop screen. This is exactly what Jun Rekimoto and his team at Sony Interaction Laboratory have developed with their 'pick and drop' technique. BBC News looks at this project in Digital pen takes on mouse. Because it's based on cheap and existing components, such a system might be released in the near future, though Sony hasn't announced any plans to do it. You'll find more details and pictures in this overview."
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'Cut and Paste' Is Out, 'Pick and Drop' Is In

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  • Social Gaming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:05AM (#9397846) Homepage Journal
    This is a great step towards a more social use of computers. Instead of being bogged down with components and using hardware to move files around, it looks as though presenters will be able to quickly move through lectures or presentations without having to mess around. This seems much more seamless to me, and natural. Imagine gaming with the pick and drop scenario. I'm an amateur game designer and this is opening a whole new field of dreams for me... like maybe a better way to interract with film, in theatres, or the advent of much better interactive social gaming.
    • by Libertarian_Geek ( 691416 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:37AM (#9398243)
      Back in '92 in a High School computer class after some serious concentrating on coding, I looked over to a friend's PC next to me, and instinctively tried to move my mouse cursor over to his PC to show him an error. At the time, I felt silly for doing that. In hindsight, my subconscious actions might have led to a similar innovation.
      Now on a related note, I found that after hours of playing Castle Wolfenstein (back then), I had the urge to push on every brick wall I found to see if there was a hidden room behind it.
      • Now on a related note, I found that after hours of playing Castle Wolfenstein (back then), I had the urge to push on every brick wall I found to see if there was a hidden room behind it.

        I figured out a pattern that led to moderate success. Look for secrets behind features(Tapestries, wreaths, portraits, etc.) on the walls. Generally speaking, there'll only be a secret behind a relatively blank section of wall if it's a short wall. (Such as the secret exit in the first level of the first episode.)
    • Re:Social Gaming? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @12:32PM (#9398868) Journal
      How about this scenario:

      Using my wearable server, I manually (eye/hand gestures etc) or mentally (remember that mind reading thing?) send a URL to my friend (think instant messaging). The URL could point to an object on my wearable server (or some other server).

      Voila instant telepathy.

      My friend receives the URL on his/her wearable server, (IM) and proceeds to download/view the object/content. Then my friend could also "click" on a URL that changes the music a jukebox plays. Similar for setting the airconditioning temperature and lighting of a room.

      Each wearable server could run a browser like app that helps make this possible - view streaming media, easily click on stuff given limited manual input, (select items from predictable lists of lists of lists etc). It will also run a webserver and web application that makes objects accessible, and a server that streams input video/audio.

      Think super wearable PDA. No need to retype data. Look at the left top corner, press a button or make a gesture(hand/eye/mind), look at the right bottom corner and press a button/make gesture. You then select a rectangular clip out of the video you can see. The rectangular clip could be stored raw and/or automatically processed - e.g. OCR. Then you can just send the object to your colleague or friends or object database at home.
  • Tom!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:06AM (#9397855)
    This sounds like what Tom Cruise was doing in Minority Report with those fancy computer gloves.
    • Re:Tom!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Solkre ( 787360 )
      Maybe we'll get those transparent memory cards that show a thumbnail of the data stored on them.
      • Re:Tom!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        I'm not sure if you're mocking them, but I certainly think that could be a good idea for certain uses.

        Specifically, photos on flash mem. If you could browse quickly through photos on a stick, you could save time looking for the right stick to share, for example.

        The truth is, we're much better at sorting simultaneous visual stimuli than we are at sorting simultaneous textual stimuli. This is why we have to procedurally read titles of books on a bookshelf, whereas we can almost instantly pick out a pa
        • Re:Tom!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:39AM (#9398262)

          An utter failure of icon-oriented menu or index interfaces is that not only do people remember the image, but more importantly, they remember the shape, size and position of the image.

          People can find a pencil on a desk just fine, but finding a pencil in a 16x16 icon grid array of books and papers all evenly spaced randomly is nearly impossible... despite being icon oriented.

          Now oddly, it's easier to find the shape of the word "pencil" in a paragraph than it is to find an icon of a pencil in a grid of icons.

          Faster still is "ctrl-f" "pencil"

          And yet faster is to type "ls pencil" on the command line.

          Just because a UI is intuative does not mean it is user friendly... infact, it's usually the opposite.

    • Re:Tom!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thedillybar ( 677116 )
      Which was nothing short of amazing.

      Considering the "mouse and keyboard" approach has been around for a long time, it's probably time for an improvement. While I've learned to love Mr. QWERTY, it'd be nice to explore alternative input devices. Especially ones that look as cool as that one. Just think, maybe they'll actually be useful too!

    • Re:Tom!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by moranar ( 632206 )

      The only problem with that interface is that it becomes tiresome after a short while. This is (one of) the reason for the failure of touchscreens as data input methods. People get tired of having their arms up in the air.

  • Novelty? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlindSpy ( 772849 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:07AM (#9397864) Homepage Journal
    To me it just seems like another one of those novelty items. On the other hand, if they can get it to be as robust and enough mem like thumb drives, they could really take off.
    • Re:Novelty? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mobiux ( 118006 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:19AM (#9398027)
      From what I read, the memory is limitless, because the pen is just what is being manipulated.

      All the work is done when you tell the "pen server" to acknowledge this click as something you want to pick up. (probably by a button on a stylus)

      Then you the next time you tap the pen (or after you click the button on the stylus) it drops it in the next place.

      So the pen actually would have any memory.
    • Re:Novelty? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by R.Caley ( 126968 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:23AM (#9398070)
      On the other hand, if they can get it to be as robust and enough mem like thumb drives, they could really take off.

      No memory, it just passes a handle and you computer gets the stuff from a server.

      I'm not sure what advantage it gives over just making the PDA, or whatever, do the job directly. The pen is just another thing to break/lose/have stolen.

      Actually, what we should have is IR on the PDA and a tilt switch inside. Then you could pour the data from yours into your friend's. Bummer when you spill your address book on the floor though.

      • Re:Novelty? (Score:2, Interesting)

        The pen could become a whole class of functionality to itself. You could scan a document by running the pen sideways on piece of paper, then deposit it in your PDA. You could take a photo. You could use an accelerometer to record whatever you're writing.

        It makes for new ways of communication, too. You could ship someone a document inside the pen. Write a digital letter to your loved one, storing it inside the pen. (Then mail the pen.) You could sign for a package by tapping your pen on the FedEx guy'
    • Re:Novelty? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stinkyfingers ( 588428 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:25AM (#9398093)
      Another novelty? I had a PalmPilot and then a PocketPC, and the number of times I "beamed" my contact information could be counted on one hand.
    • On the other hand, if they can get it to be as robust and enough mem like thumb drives, they could really take off.

      I like thumb drives. I read the blurb and thought so instead of a thumb drive, some one has put the flash mem in pen and some wireless transmission like bluetooth to do the transferring and basicly doing a copy and paste onto an external storage device. Big whoopie.
    • You mean like the Gyro Mouse []?

      I kind of agree with you, but eventually we'll have more imput devices than just the mouse and keyboard. While this might not be useful to most of us, hopefully it's a step in the right direction towards something that WILL be useful for all of us.

  • The question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffkjo1 ( 663413 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:08AM (#9397882) Homepage
    The question is, how long before 'pick and drop' is patented and no one else can use it without paying exhorbant liscencing fees.

    What's sad about the above statement is it's not meant as humor.
    • Re:The question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:15AM (#9397980)
      Then it won't matter, because no-one else will use the technology and it'll just quietly fade away.
      • by pbhj ( 607776 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:49AM (#9398380) Homepage Journal
        You mean just like CDs did ...? Or perhaps you mean like nurofen (tradename for ibuprofen, granted it's more widespread since the patent lapsed, but it didn't die). Maybe, you mean that it will fade away like ring-pulls ...

        Just because something is protected by a patent doesn't mean that it can't be licensed reasonably. Rewarding good, genuinely innovative, ideas is OK in my book.

        Of course, this is quite clever as it uses hardware as well as software and so can more easily be patented in places that restrict software patents (which is still true in Europe, whatever the press says).

      • Then it [patents on the technology] won't matter, because no-one else will use the technology and it'll just quietly fade away.

        I wish this were true. My fear is, we'll get used to "pick-n-drop", it'll become indispensible, and then the submarine patents will emerge, faster than you can say "gif", "jpeg", "FAT", etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Any young child will tell you that there is much prior art for "Pick and Drop", as well as "Pick and Flick" and "Pick and Smear All Over Daddy's Arm". It's well documented as the Sinus Nasal Outflow Technique.
    • What's sad about the above statement is it's not meant as humor.

      That's ok, it wasn't funny anyway.
    • and why shouldn't they patent it? They didn't spend all that money to give it out for free. I know what you're thinking, it is cool and it is free, just like mp3 and files etc
    • They'll have to fight off the people who patented Pic'n'Mix first.
    • Re:The question (Score:2, Insightful)

      The question is, how long before 'pick and drop' is patented and no one else can use it without paying exhorbant liscencing fees.

      People rightly object to stupid patents on trivial inventions and processes, but unlike most such things that appear on Slashdot, this really is a pretty ingenious innovation, and they're certainly right to patent it. If they license it reasonably, it will take off. If not, well, it'll still be a great idea twenty years from now when the patent expires.

  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PktLoss ( 647983 ) * on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:09AM (#9397892) Homepage Journal
    A business card pre-encoded with the contact information for its owner would be cool. Hand someone your card, they touch it to their PDA and hand it back.

    Other more permenant uses would also be cool, get train schedules (including changes due to repairs (Those in NYC know just how important that detail is) at the station with a quick touch.
    • A business card pre-encoded with the contact information for its owner would be cool.

      Someone needs to resurrect the Rex. Then your business card can be your PDA.

      Actually, they should build that functionality into a phone. Rather than making phones the size of a PDA, make something the size of a Rex (ie PC Card sized) which acts as phone and PDA.

      • Already exists (Score:5, Informative)

        by ajlitt ( 19055 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:40AM (#9398277)
        Most bluetooth or IrDA cellphones support swapping business cards using the same standard (vCard) as PDAs and other IrDA compatible devices use. I've used my cellphone at conferences to beam business cards to and from all sorts of handheld gadgets.
        • ObexFTP can in fact transfer any kind of data between phones, PDAs and notebooks. The "pen" would be a nice method not to share actual files but locations where they can be obtained via ObexFTP.
    • This reminds me of a concept I read about several years back: putting barcodes or magnetic stripes on the back of business cards. Then, put a small reader on a pda. That way, you keep the card, but just swipe it in. How much data, realistically, do you need on a business card? A small photo, a name, company info, and contact info.
      • Haven't been to many conferences recently, have ya?

        COMDEX puts magnetic stirps on the back of your badge so that if you want info from a vendor, you just swipe your card.

        The IT EXPO that travels the country used some sort of smart-card a couple years back that had your name printed on it and a small (E?)EPROM inside of it. Those cards were inserted into a small reader with a built in Palm (I believe the devices were from Symbol). The information with the card indicated that the cards were re-usable at v
    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxbang ( 598632 )

      Much like holding down the address button on your Palm pda to automatically transmit your business card data to another pda?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:10AM (#9397905)
    I'm not going to give up on the usefulness of my Cue Cat just yet.
  • I wish! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cat_Byte ( 621676 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:10AM (#9397910) Journal
    How do you exchange a file with a colleague or a photograph with a family member? Chances are that you cut the desired element and paste it into your e-mail program to send it

    I don't know about your friends but I've got some real winners who just keep forwarding until the original info is nested 40 layers deep. argh!

  • Transfer speed? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlindSpy ( 772849 )
    How long will you have to keep your "pen" connected for the data to be transfered. If you're going to have to hold your hand there for a while for bigger files you mind as well just use other methods of data transfer.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    see this slashdot article for insight [], needless to say slashdot keeps feeding him while he steals other peoples content and reposts it as his own

    • WTF?

      A spammer by definition is somebody who sends unsolicited stuff. There're still Editors at slashdot right? arent they supposed to choose stories ? If this guy knows what stories interest the slashdot audience, and present them convincingly, what's wrong with posting it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:11AM (#9397926)
    I've just confined its use to nasal maintenance. Sometimes an added roll step is required between the pick and drop steps. It sounds like these guys have just taken this concept and run with it.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:11AM (#9397929)
    This thing'll be used to drop porn on the board room's projector during a meeting, a'la Fight Club, or will be used to write nasty things about the presenter, who would probably be facing the audience rather than the screen...
  • expensive pens (Score:2, Interesting)

    by teklob ( 650327 )
    I wonder how this works, and how the PDA would differentiate between more than one stylus. The only solution I can think of is there would need to be some sort of data storage capacity in the pen. They already charge you $10-$40 for a piece of plastic shaped like a pen, who knows how much it will cost when it has a miniature hard drive and wifi connectivity in it.
    • Re:expensive pens (Score:3, Informative)

      by gtaluvit ( 218726 )
      RTFA. The stylus has an ID. From what I read, you touch a file with the stylus and your computer basically says "this file is about to be transferred with this stylus". When you touch another computer with it, that computer asks the network "I'm a computer looking for a file from this stylus" and the original responds by sending it. Old idea, new interface. I like it.
    • It could also be that is has a small rfid tag, and that it's base station, on a wiki network, keeps track of what it last touched. If another device notices the rfid tag in it's space, it could say, "Hey a pen that I don't recongize is here, who wants to give me something?".

      The base device would hear the broadcast and transmit the file to the remote device. Some combination of bluetooth and wifi could easily be embedded into the devices, while keeping the pen "dumb" and only having a tag in it. As more
  • Transmission Vector (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Apocalypse111 ( 597674 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:12AM (#9397944) Journal
    I suppose that someone should play devil's advocate and point out that this will revitalize the old "dirty disk" transmission vector for virus's and other malware. Where it use to be, "Don't put that disk in your PC, its got a virus on it", now it'll be "Don't touch me with that thing, its dirty!".

    Subsequent invention of a small, slip-on firewall is pending...
  • Good thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ifoxtrot ( 529292 )
    I really like the idea behind this because it targets a specific audience that will really benefit from it: i.e. people who have to use computers to work, but don't want to know how they work.
    Sure it won't be as efficient as cut + paste (won't work on remote machines for e.g.), or as powerful + customisable as a perl script, but for day-to-day needs of people who don't have or want a clue this may be a step further to making computers invisible (kinda like the taps and sinks and washing machines we're so
  • Umm... No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by windside ( 112784 ) <> on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:13AM (#9397956)

    How do you exchange a file with a colleague or a photograph with a family member? Chances are that you cut the desired element and paste it into your e-mail program to send it.

    No. That's what the "attach" button is for. I've always found cut & paste into an email to be quite dodgy.

    • Most of my family is still on dial-up; so I post the images to a web server and allow them to browse them at their leisure, rather than forcing them to sit and wait for an hour to see 100 pictures they probably don't care about anyway.

      The analogy given is poor anyway, this method is only practical when both people are in the same room along with the devices they wish to use to share the data. How often does that occur?
    • Re:Umm... No (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr_Silver ( 213637 )
      No. That's what the "attach" button is for. I've always found cut & paste into an email to be quite dodgy.

      Why is this 4, Insightful? I've never used "attach" because once I've browsed to the location of the picture which i want to send the last thing I want to do is hit "attach" and re-browse for it again.

      Therefore, being the lazy sod I am, I've always dragged and dropped it into the email and never had any issues.

      Mind you, i've only ever used Microsoft mail applications - so maybe Microsoft is th

    • I've always found cut & paste into an email to be quite dodgy.

      I've always found cut & paste to be an ugly description of moving files, period. The concept may work fine in things like word processors and image editors, which can be easily compared to similar non-digital activities. However, do you cut folders out of a file cabinet, or paste documents into another folder?

      I don't understand why it would not have been just as easy to establish "move file" and " here" as the commonly-accepted
  • I didn't read the article (Yet, I swear!) but if (as is often NOT the case on slashdot) it turns out to describe what the description says this sounds great.

    I have often thought of the stagnation of the mouse/keyboard as inptu devices in computing, it seems weekly there is some crazy new way of doing things proposed but most mouse changes are simple iterative improvements (adding buttons, removing the mechanical ball, etc) but a pointer that could transfer data with a strong metaphor like the description
  • Awww COMEON..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schild ( 713993 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:13AM (#9397961) Homepage Journal
    What the hell is the difference? Seriously. Now instead of using programs already implemented and functioning, we'll have to carry around a little pen with some memory or bluetooth or some other technology built in? Thus slowing down bootup time, adding more drivers to deal with, and potentially more flaws? I love how the article says "this is very intuitive..." Shit guys, cut & paste is intuitive cuz we've been doing it the better part of 20 years, now you want to 'shift the paradigm' (TM).

    Sony should have seriously sat back and said, "ya know, it isn't broken and it doesn't need to be made any better right now, we have better things to spend money on." But noooo, instead Joe Jackass VP said "Hyuk, I wanna touch my friends laptop and have my files automagically pop onto their computer."

    And holy hacking batman, this is a whole new world of identity/property theft.
  • "Picking and grinning"?

    Ah, for the days of sitting in Dad's lap, watching HeeHaw, admiring the cowgirls.

  • Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lachlan76 ( 770870 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:14AM (#9397968)
    What does this do that I can't do with cut&paste?
    When i need something on another computer, it's always a file anyway, which I can put on my LAN (Like 1GB+). This just seems like a waste of time when we already have a simple way of doing it.
    • by Mz6 ( 741941 ) *
      This article is talking about PDAs and portable devices. Not really so much as networked PCs. For example, if AWAY from your LAN, it would be a lot easier to simply "picK" from their PDA a picture or file and then drop it into your handheld. This is better than the contrary, email it to me, here is my email.
      • Alot of PDAs have WiFi, and you'd probably need it to send anything with a big file size.
        • Alot of PDAs have WiFi, and you'd probably need it to send anything with a big file size.

          Most files are in the sub-gigabyte range. A "pen" with a healthy RAM size should be able to handle most drag-and-drop operations. And quite frankly, if your pen can't handle it, either your or my email system probably has a size-limit filter prohibiting large attachments. Keep in mind this is a technology that's not out to replace the fileserver, it's just a convenient way of simplifying the process of getting in

    • This just seems like a waste of time when we already have a simple way of doing it.

      You suffer from a lack of imagination. Doing it the current way requires a network and fileservers at a minimum. Which is fine if I'm on your network, have the correct permissions, and know where to go get the file that you're sending to me.

      On the other hand, if you and I are in a business meeting in a restaurant, and I've got a document to share with you (maybe we're editing it during the meeting), we can work out al

  • Smart Stylus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mratitude ( 782540 )
    So now my stylus will be able to store data and copy it to another device? A "smart" pointer?

    I read that as equating to $$$ when I lose the bloody thing.
  • by MoxCamel ( 20484 ) * on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:15AM (#9397976)
    Instead of using a device to exchange files, wouldn't it be cool if we could somehow connect computers together in such a way that you could transfer files without having to use this funky "pen" interface? Imagine hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of these machines, exchanging information using some kind of graphical interface, where you could use some kind of input device like a joystick to "grab" a file, and "drop" it across to another computer, seamlessly. You might say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

    That would be cool!

  • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:17AM (#9397995) Homepage
    The typical ways of exchanging files, using e-mail, discs, or a shared file server, are impractical or clumsy in many cases.

    No, typical interfaces used to exchange information are impractical or clumsy. Well designed interfaces are not. Back before my Palm died I used to use beam-it to exchange files with other palm owners using the IR link. While the user interface was far from optimal, it was far from being impractical or clumsy.

    Setting up a "pen manager server" just so I can exchange files is impractical and clumsy.

    Best quote in the BBM article:
    Dr Russell Beale, of the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham in the UK, said it was "toys for the boys".

  • by endeitzslash ( 570374 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:18AM (#9398008)
    I still like "Xerox and throw". . .
  • Wait a second... (Score:2, Interesting)

    "When the pen tip comes close to the screen of another device, a shadow of the attached object appears on its screen. Tapping the pen tip instructs the 'pen manager' server to copy the file to that location." I can't tell if the pen actually is screen location sensitive, or if it just sends the file to the destination machine? In other words, is it actually a copy and paste across two computers, or is it just a clunky way to send files?
  • by Bushcat ( 615449 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:20AM (#9398034)
    I had a similar idea a while ago (which I guess I should have followed up on), but it wasn't to share files between people. Instead, it would be a go2mypc-like service, where a USB memory-style device is used to tap on the files one wants to be available in a second location. If they fit on the device, then they are transferred to it. The ones that don't get delivered when the USB dongle is connected to a target machine.

    Given the Sony approach to a device that has a unique ID that can be tracked through some kind of communication, I don't know why they don't simply take the opportunity to stuff the "pen" with the data. The demo talks about handheld to handheld, so it's not likely to be huge amounts.

    In either case, the device is an intermediary, that could be built into anything most people have with them at all times. Cellphone, for example.

  • by ifoxtrot ( 529292 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:21AM (#9398050)
    Check out the paper [] he submitted at CHI. Also the BBC has a story about this at this address [].
    In short, the pen doesn't actually store the file, but uses a third server to mark and notify which file should be copied to where...
  • Really, consider the similarities:

    You have to physically carry the data from point A to point B

    You have to hand the data to the recipient, so both of you have to be space-time coincident

    This will just add another step in the old one-upmanship communication chain:

    "I need a copy of that."
    "Can I fax it to you?"
    "Can you email it to me?
    "Do you have a web site where I can drop it?"
    "Here, just drop it on my PDA"


  • Pick and Drop is very cool ... in case anyone is interested, we knocked up an audio-based pick and drop interface a couple of years ago inspired by Rekimoto's work. Cheesy videos and webpage available here [], and the academic paper [] describing the work in more detail.

    The idea is that you can use existing devices (like voice recorders, mobile phones, PDAs) that can play or record audio to capture documents and move them around. By playing the sound back to a device (e.g. a print server), it decodes the ident
  • I prefer copy and paste. That way I won't lose the original data if I happen to screw it up.
  • by Matey-O ( 518004 )
    Only a matter of time til that picking and putting gives you more than you bargained for.
  • Several people posting seem to have the impression that this thing is like a USB thumb drive shaped like a pen. It is not a storage device, it is an interface metaphor. The actual data still has to move across a network. It is just a more fluid and intuitive (well fluid and intuitive is a matter of opinion) of telling the systems to transfer data. ie, instead of expilictly transfering the data from the PDA (via hotsync, ftp, nfs, whatever) the pen motion initiates an implicit transfer of data.
    • The idea of requiring connectivity to a shared "pen manager server" and unique IDs on all pens, is so much more complex and messy than just sticking the data in flash inside the pen. Their solution is worse than this "mistaken assumption".
  • So what does the Sony pen do that a USB memory key doesn't, except:

    1) Write on paper, and
    2) Not use a standardized USB interface or driver?

    I mean, it's a cute idea and all, but if you're going to be moving a little widget back and forth between computers, why not just use a memory key that works with every computer right out of the box, instead of some futuristic tinkertoy that only one company (or optimistically a HANDFUL of companies) supports?

    Seems like a pain in the ass implementation to me.
  • ...then you would not have to worry about loosing the pen :-)
  • Big Brother? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by perdu ( 549634 )
    Oh great, now BB will setup scanners to see what's on all of our digital pens. /* :) it's Friday */

    Halliburton -- "Everybody owns a share"
  • Pen server? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _bug_ ( 112702 )
    So basically an item is selected then xfered to a "pen server" with the unique ID of the pen that selected the item attached to the object. Then next time the pen interacts with a screen, the pen server gets polled and whatever resource is currently in there for that pen gets put up on screen.

    Seems like a lot of extra infrastructure to me.

    Why not just place a small memory card inside the pen? When the pen selects an object, that object is copied into the memory space of the pen.

    Then you don't have to wor
  • how it works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by enbody ( 472304 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @11:46AM (#9398352) Homepage
    A number of posters seem to have missed the point on how it is implemented (not surprising because that is hard to find in the articles). The key concept seems to be some shared space such as a server. The BBC article says:

    "The 'pick and drop' system was developed using the Mitsubishi Amity handheld pen computer and a Wacom PL300 pen-sensitive desktop screen.

    Pens are given a unique ID, which is readable by the computer when the pen is close to its screen.

    When a person taps on an icon with the pen, the computer contacts a 'pen manager' server, via a fixed or wireless connection, and the object is attached to the pen, although the pen itself has no storage capacity.

    When the pen tip comes close to the screen of another device, a shadow of the attached object appears on its screen.

    Tapping the pen tip instructs the 'pen manager' server to copy the file to that location."
  • It seems like this is what I've been doing for years upon years with my mouse.

    Macintosh in particular has had universal drag and drop for at least as long as I remember.
  • The metaphor itself is a very powerful construct. The article talks about moving files between computers, but the "pointer" could be a much more powerful context-sensitive device. So, when pointing to a computer display, the inference might be "copy this data". When walking around Fry's, pointing at an item might be "deliver more information on this product". Or a similar action in a supermarket might mean "purchase this and deliver to the checkout or my home". The concept is interesting and extensible.
  • How do you know that the person's file, business card, etc doesn't have a virus or spyware? Or, that it isn't also "taking" information from your computer (MAC address, IP address, etc) for later, malicious use such as spam where it just gathers addresses and info to submit to a database for bad usage. "I noticed this person was running an unpatched version of Windows XP, so we should use this IP / MAC address to hijack and transmit spam / viruses.".

    What are the safeguards? I can't get my co-workers to
  • (Pick It and Flick It)
  • by MvdB ( 260047 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @12:05PM (#9398574)
    I use Tokens to exchange any size files with my family and friends. So, I can e-mail a Token that contains a reference to some videos and pictures (the size of which easily exceeds the size of an e-mail attachment). The receiver can redeem the Token. No more fiddling with sending CDs through the mail with the latest pictures and videos of the kids. For more information or to try it out:
  • Huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by fozzmeister ( 160968 )
    So i want to send a file to a friend in say Canada:-

    * Pick file up using pen
    * Buy stamps and envelope
    * Mail pen to friend
    * fried puts on screen

    What a fucked up system,
  • Well, if they'd expand this idea ot to something like a Bluetooth pen that acted as a key drive that i didn't keep having to conencting and disconnecting, it'd be worth it to me (assuming that the local computers supported it). Double-click on the desktop and a shelf appears with your stored files that are on the pen drive in a stack. Drag and drop them on or off your shelf and have the shelf disappear once done. maybe control click with a button on the pen to automatically copy a clicked file to a pen and
  • Again, nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azav ( 469988 ) on Friday June 11, 2004 @01:36PM (#9399826) Homepage Journal
    If I recall correctly, Timbuktu allowed me to do this in the 1990's

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."