There exist so-called Digital Pens, which will record what they are writing electronically, while writing on paper. These pens belong to two categories:
- The kind that require special paper.
- The kind that require a receiver be attached to the top of the sheet, which senses the positions of the pen during writing, but which do not require special paper.
The IRISNotes is a digital pen of the second kind, of which I happen to own one.
In general, I do not find this type of pen very useful, because the need does not arise often, to be writing on paper, yet to be digitizing what is written anyway. However, I have this pen, and have in the past installed Windows software to download its writings onto my PC.
I felt that it would be a challenge to get this relic to work again, while using Linux software to download its data. For that purpose, it was helpful to note, that the hardware is of the ‘Pegasus’ variety, regardless of how it was branded. And then it was easy to find a special, Linux, software-project, the aim of which was to do exactly that.
This software only comes in binary form, packaged for Ubuntu. Using Debian, we do not have a mechanism for PPAs. And so the only way for me to get it running, was to custom-compile it, which I easily did.
Aside from custom-compiling, I
needed to create the following file:
/etc/udev/rules.d/50-hidraw.rules : ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="hidraw*", MODE="0666"
(Update 04/23/2018 :
Actually, by now I’ve discovered that the project source tree actually has a sub-directory named ‘udev’, which contains the recommended Rules File.
The Rule I created above will certainly work, but by giving user-access to any and every HIDRAW device-file, may not provide the highest level of security. And so I would recommend that readers do what I’ve done myself by now – To use the Rules File supplied with the project. )
I should note that my version of IRISNotes pen is first-generation. I cannot guarantee that any of this will work with an IRIS 2 or an IRIS Executive 2 -type pen. I just happened to own a pen which was collecting dust, with the idle thought of wanting to reactivate it.
The version of this pen which I have, has two modes of operation: USB-mode and Bluetooth-mode. The BT-mode has always been rather pointless, because it would need an active wireless connection while I was writing. It was originally meant to work with Android and iOS devices, but lacked in performance.
The ability to download pages of writing that are saved in the receiver-module, has always been limited to working in USB-mode.
And so I am happy to announce, that my project was a success, and that I am able to use the command-line tool to convert captured data to SVG (image) files.
The ability to do OCR on the writing has always required Windows or OS/X, and under Linux, whatever ability we want, to convert the SVG drawings to text, must be supplied by the user or not at all. I am not that far along with it yet.