Even in this technologically advanced world, there is no real substitute for taking notes by hand. Doodling, sketching, making quick notations, and mapping out information in a way that’s easy for you to understand are just a few things that are still remarkably easy to do with a pen and a piece of paper. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s the way I prefer to take and receive notes.
I use Evernote for just about everything I do. It has become my go-to tool for article writing, project planning, and keeping information that I would otherwise lose and/or forget. If there were some way to have data written by hand transfer directly to Evernote, I’d be set.
Enter the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine. This notebook, unlike other smart notebooks, is designed to allow you to use your own pen or pencil to take notes (or draw things) and transfer them directly to a synced digital platform. You could fill the notebook with your thoughts and sketches and take a photo of the pages using the Evernote app for iOS (Android support hopefully coming soon) and it will turn your analog writing into digital data.
I’m going to side-track here for a moment before going into exactly how this thing works. Moleskine has long been my absolute favorite notebook brand. Products bearing the Moleskine name are generally ones I’d trust, and knock-offs are almost always a disappointment to me. I primarily take notes by hand even though I have tons of note applications in front of me. Having a notebook at the ready means quick, immediate access to a note taking resource that requires no boot up time, charging, or keeping up with sync cables required.
How it Works
The Smart Notebook has a series of small dots which helps the software translate scale and position of the camera. When you take a photo of a page using the app, it detects where your camera is in relation to the content on the paper. Then, it’ll filter out the paper and leave only your content intact. This content becomes part of your greater Evernote library to be stored for all time.
This is a relatively easy process to work out on iOS since the iPhone has predictable photo quality out of the box. Because Android is so dramatically diverse, it stands to reason why Evernote is taking a while to develop this functionality for the Android platform.
Sorting of your written notes into various notebooks within Evernote is made easier through the use of Smart Stickers. These multi-colored stickers are associated with various notebooks within your Evernote profile (you specify these settings yourself). Adding a sticker to a page makes it really easy to just snap the photo and go on with your life.
Unlike computerized pens that are often bulky and still require special notebooks, this notebook works with your pen. All you need is a smartphone to take the picture.
Who Could Use It?
College students that still enjoy taking notes by hand but need these notes to be digitized will benefit greatly from this type of technology. I could see myself using it while taking notes at a conference or during an interview, making those notes available on any device I happen to have with me while writing the article at a later date.
This also provides a backup from your physical copy. Should you lose your notebook, having this data at the ready on Evernote can save you down the line.
Sketch artists that draw doodles or small sketches throughout the day would benefit from being able to bring up these drawings directly on their computer without the investment of a scanner or the inconvenient presence of lines from the paper itself.
Because the Smart Notebook comes in either graph or lined varieties, role-playing game DMs can sketch out a map or an encounter and have it digitized to throw on a big-screen TV during the game.
If you haven’t signed up for an Evernote Premium account, don’t worry. The notebook itself comes with three free months of this subscription service. It’s not a terrible deal considering just how many things you can do thanks to Evernote’s robust API.
The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine is available for pre-order with shipments expected in four to six weeks. Undoubtedly, it’ll find its way to big-box stores inside of a few months.
Image via Evernote