Intelligent pens digitise freight shipments

Transport company Federal Express (FedEx) is set to introduce "intelligent" digital pens which feature infrared cameras, image processors and Bluetooth wireless transceivers.

The digital pens, to be used by couriers in the Asia-Pacific region when delivering or picking up packages, will assist those customers who still prefer doing paper work by hand instead of using electronic tools, FedEx CIO Linda Brigance said.

The pens will be introduced with PowerPads to transmit data in real time to processing hubs around the globe.

"The digital pen is significant because it lets FedEx take handwritten information and transform it into digital data in a way that is completely unobtrusive and requires no behavioural changes on the part of our customers," Brigance said.

The pen is used with digital paper and as the user is writing, the camera and components take "digital snapshots" of the pattern and stores the information to calculate the pen's exact location.

The information is transmitted via Bluetooth wireless technology to a mobile phone, PC, PDA or fax machine.

Brigance said FedEx is a technology-driven company spending an average of $US1.3 billion annually enhancing its IT capabilities.

The PowerPad will upload information to the FedEx network once a package is scanned.

The signature capture capability on the PowerPad's touch screen is also loaded onto the network to provide signature proof of delivery.

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