What’s the Exbiblio oPen for?

September 20th, 2006 by Hugh

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog while I’ve been here at the Exbiblio office. I can report that I’m collecting lots of material to write up later. I’ve also been helping Ariel with a big rewrite of the copy on the Exbiblio website. I’m looking for examples of uses for Exbiblio’s first product, the oPen, which is due out next Spring.

Let me recap. Despite its name, the oPen is not really a pen at all. We hope to give you some pictures soon. It’s a sleek and flat little rectangle that will easily slip into a shirt pocket. It’s a text scanner with big aspirations. Let me numerate a few. I would be glad for more examples.

  • If it lives up to its promise, the oPen will be the most compact and reliable text scanner to date. So if you are reading a book, it will be no trouble to highlight a paragraph and save it. There’s no need to deface your book with a note or underline, or turn the corner of the page, or stick a post-it note inside. You’ve captured the text and can keep it on your computer. This is its most simple function. It’s a little underrated in the great Exibiblio “vision” but for my money, this is its most easy-to-understand and useful function.
  • If you want to add a few thoughts about what you just read, you can mutter them into the oPen. It save the sound file linked to the quotation you have chosen.
  • If the book you are reading is out of copyright, there’s a good chance that a digital copy of it exists on the web somewhere. Once your quotation is saved on your computer, the Exbiblio system will find the context for you. You will be able to expand your quotation to look at the whole page, chapter, or book. If you know that a digital copy exists, all you have to do is scan a few words because the Exbiblio system will find the rest for you.
  • Once you have a collection of quotations on your computer, you can search them, tag them, and sift them – do all the things that you like to do on computers.
  • You can, of course, share your quotations by emailing them and blogging them.
  • The Exbiblio system will be great for cross-referencing. Suppose you are reading a biography of a British Prime Minister that quotes a few lines of a famous speech, “We shall fight them on the beaches.” The Exbiblio system will find the rest of that speech for you. Similarly, citations of other reference books and sources can lead you to the original text. There’s no need for a researcher keep going back to the library to look up every cross-reference.
  • It will also work as a bar code scanner – so you can can catalogue your book or cd collection, or if you work in business you can use it to keep track of inventory.
  • If you are reading a poster or a notice on a wall, the Exbiblio pen could lead you to more information on the web about an event – see MyTago and Smartpox

These are just a few possible uses. I’m starting to think that I would be happy to fork out a few quid (I’m English) for one of these. Let your imagination take free reign. I’d be glad to have any more examples.

7 Responses to “What’s the Exbiblio oPen for?”

  1. Claes-Fredrik Mannby Says:

    Thanks for your summary of uses, Hugh.

    I would add that a prime function of the pen will also be as a memory aid, to help you manage your task list, by scanning size tags on your pants, if you can’t remember what size you wear, the UPC from your friend’s books, CDs and DVDs, the phone number to call to get Bombay Dreams tickets, etc.

    I think people will also find somewhat wacky, fun uses as well, such as collecting restaurant menu logos and food descriptions, fortune cookie messages, graffiti, textures, etc., or using it as a magnifying glass for food content labels, managing calories or allergens, or creating a Home Grocer/PeaPod/Albertson’s shopping list.

  2. Hugh Says:

    Thanks Claes-Fredrik. To use as a memory aid for phone numbers and email adddresses, it would be really handy if you could sync it with your address book , or go to something like Plaxo to match a phone number or email to further contact details. It could easily become a business card scanner too.

  3. Adam Says:

    Is it going to have it’s own lighting source?

    If so, it could be used as a small flashlight.

  4. Jack Says:

    Can it pick stones out of a horse’s hoof?

  5. Kay Says:

    This is my first time seeing the info about this little pup. I reviewed the Web site because of an announcement about the meet up tomorrow. (I won’t be there because I live at Mt Baker near the Canadian border.) Your little pup is the only one that excited me from the list of startups.

    I love all the uses listed so far, and I have one to add. It can help the creative process by loading the scanned bits into bubbles for a right-brain bubble chart or mind map.

    There are no accidents. As we go through our day, our focus switches from this item to that creating a pattern for that day. If we could scan the bits of our patterns and then look at them from one day to the next, we could discover entry doors into the global consciousness “database” that exists. This could mean that we could gain access to info about how to capture energy from the air, for example. No oil? No problem!

    I know this concept is not easy for the non-autistic brain to understand. But your little tool could help all of us enter that amazing world where autists live and then return with all the amazing information! Exactly like a “magic carpet” ride.

    I can’t really communicate this well in NT (neurologically typical) language yet, but if you are interested, contact me. As you can see from my Web site, I’m not a crack pot! I’ve actually been quite successful in the NT world.

    You really have something amazing here that can give us all access to the info needed to change the world by creating a NEW world that makes the existing model obsolete (Bucky Fuller’s advice on how to change the world).

    I would love to work with you to help you market this little guy. Please let me know how I can help or ask me how I can help, and I’ll give you 10 ways, at least. I work out of my home office for very low wages because I don’t need so much because I work out of my home office.

    Kay Dayss, living with an active volcano

    ps … your comment policy needs editing. Instead of “insure” you should have “ensure”.

  6. Francisco Soto Says:

    Hugh, right from Slashdot this morning, check this company out. It has just landed a contract with NASA for something called the Touch User Interface:

    The TUI is to the printed page what the Graphic User Interface (GUI) is to the computer screen. It is an open convergence technology that enables readers of normally printed materials to touch the page and retrieve digital content or launch communication applications on a computer.

    The videos provide a fast track to understand the concept.

  7. shredders Says:

    I have one to add. It can help the creative process by loading the scanned bits into bubbles for a right-brain bubble chart or mind map.