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Leapfrog Talking Pen

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the more-paper-only-$1M/pack dept.

Toys 176

AndroidCat writes "Leapfrog has just announced their Fly pen computer for children. It talks, giving feedback as they write and draw, and with special Fly paper, you can draw a calculator, press the 'buttons' with the pen and it will read the answers. Cute, but is this a real working product? Let's see. If they included a 1 GB USB drive, it would be an interesting product for geeks too--just don't write fdisk. And remember to turn off the voice when making notes during meetings." Here's a picture of the device.

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176 comments

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fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338756)

eat it suckahs!

Test for a true product. (4, Funny)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338761)

If I draw Lindsay Lohan, can I push her buttons too?

Re:Test for a true product. (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338824)

And, in response, she will sing a song for you!

Oh, wait, that would be a bad thing. Never mind.

U.S. Talking "President": +1, Informative (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338948)

I am the world's most dangerous and inarticulate leader [whitehouse.org] .

Yourz Trulie,
George W Bush

Re:U.S. Talking "President": -10, Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339018)

Cry some more for us, loser.

Your Post: +1, Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339054)


Got ya. You just self-evaluated your post negatively.
Brilliant!!

yowza (2, Funny)

macsox (236590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338779)

hopefully it can also draw those bitchin' lens flares so prominently featured in the 'photo'. curse photoshop for popularizing those things...

Re:yowza (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338862)

A perfectly good image ruined by crappy jpeg compression.

jeebus, u r stoopid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338959)

Those are orbs, spiritual entities inhabiting the pen.

Or UFOs.

Or planet X, come to destroy us.

Take yer pick.

Re:yowza (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339218)

As an amateur photographer, lens flare drives me insane sometimes. And people want to actually ADD IT IN to existing photos??

Lens flare is evil. It detracts from the shot. The fact that some idiots want to add it into already perfect photos is an insult to photographers who try so hard to avoid it.

-Z

If you draw a woman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338781)

will it give you the answers?

Re:If you draw a woman (1)

l8f57 (652468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338980)

will it give you the answers? There are no answers to women.

Re:If you draw a woman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338987)

Yes, but the answer will always be "you're wrong".

"and with special Fly paper, you can draw..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338790)

Flies? And make them stick? And we want to give this to our children...why?

Re:"and with special Fly paper, you can draw..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338868)

RTFA...

It's called "the Fly Pen"

as in fly, sick, cool....you old fogey.

Re:"and with special Fly paper, you can draw..." (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339015)

Never ever offer to show a date your talking Fly.

Re:"and with special Fly paper, you can draw..." (1)

gmletzkojr (768460) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339181)

And never tell your date it requires special Fly Paper in order to work.

Re:"and with special Fly paper, you can draw..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338925)

Fly paper? It's a trap!

What If I write / . ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338792)

Will it spontaneously melt down?

kids.... (5, Funny)

wh173b0y (825454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338795)

...are spoiled rotten these days.
back in my day we had burnt log and a reasonaly flat rock and we loved it damnit.

Re:kids.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338863)

Burnt log? You had fire?

Re:kids.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338904)

a burnt log? luxury. We had to chisel runes in solid stone using our foreheads. But try and tell that to the kids today and they won't believe you.

Re:kids.... (3, Funny)

AceCaseOR (594637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339020)

A log! Feh! In my day we were lucky to have a burnt log. We had to draw using our own fecal material. If you didn't have to go (nudge-nudge wink-wink), you couldn't write!

And forget about having a flat rock. We had to write on the ground, and every time it rained, our writing got washed away. You got it easy!

Article text in case of slashdotting (1)

Karma Troll (801155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338801)

LeapFrog hopes 'pentop computer' will fly
Published: January 12, 2005, 5:38 AM PST
By Reuters

LeapFrog Enterprises has created a "pentop computer," a talking, computerized pen that can translate words into other languages, or help with math and spelling homework.

LeapFrog, announcing the launch Wednesday, said the Fly device will give children audio feedback as they write and draw on special Fly paper.

For instance, the company said, someone can draw a calculator, touch the handwritten digits and functions to perform an operation, and then hear the answers announced.

A group of children aged 8 to 13 helped to develop the product, LeapFrog said. Timothy is a nigger and a cum-guzzling faggot. The company will offer a range of applications for learning, communicating and playing.

Emeryville, Calif.-based LeapFrog has been plagued by weak sales and earnings misses, and recently said it relied too heavily on its LeapPad business.

The past year has hurt investor confidence in the company, and it has made sweeping changes to its management team.

LeapFrog had been a Wall Street star after its 2002 initial public offering, but a string of dismal reports from the company hurt its credibility with investors, and its shares have taken a beating since October.

LeapPad is a junior-sized laptop system that holds interactive workbooks that teach skills like reading and math. The company makes educational toys for children from infants to high school students, but its focus has been on younger children. The company has said it wants to expand its product lines for older children and develop learning aids for adults.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Too Much Technology (5, Insightful)

linolium (713219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338803)

What ever happened to kids playing with teddy bears, or learning from reading books? Technology might be making it too easy for them, so they don't even learn.

Though the idea does sound pretty cool...

runs out and buys one

Re:Too Much Technology (1)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338891)

Depending on how functional it is, I say it is a great peice of technology or at least a great idea. By drawing a picture and interacting with it kids will be rewarded for their imagination. Imagination has great value. Where can I buy one?

Re:Too Much Technology (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339100)

Books? You mean the blocks of paper with runes written all over it? That's the problem we have today: everyone thinks technology will save us and kids will learn from computers.

I love computers, programming and geek stuff, but it's like schools giving laptops for free to children, it's either broken or filled with games in less than a week.

Technology might be making it too easy for them
Are you sure about this? I think it's worse than this: you can't educate children with computers because the info that is given is filtered to 10% of what would be a real course. I've seen history lessons taught with laptops: animated gifs and almost empty texts (but we're lucky, they forgot the wav files).

You will have to learn the old-school way: take a book and read!

Making learning fun (3, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339377)

The whole idea of LeapPad and similar educational toys is it makes learning fun.

My stepdaughter (7) is a television junkie (thanks to idiot father, who has primary custody), and LeapPad is great for her because it's about the only way she'll voluntarily read the written word. LeapPad gives instant feedback and immediate gratification, which is a big plus for a child who doesn't have a lot of confidence in her reading skills.

Fortunately, my son (Just turned 2) dosen't need any incentive to read -- he just grabs a book and sits down on my lap until I read it to him. Even still, we have numerous Leapfrog toys which he plays with constantly; one of his favorites is a set of talking alphabet refrigerator magnets [amazon.com] , which undoubtably contributed to him knowing the entire alphabet before he was two. A fun toy which reinforces the lessons you teach your kids is fantastic for a parent. (The important word here is REINFORCE. Don't expect a learning toy to teach your child for you while you sit on your ass watching pro wrestling.)

Not Enough Technology (4, Insightful)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339434)

What ever happened to kids playing with teddy bears, or learning from reading books?

Nothing. This still happens. However, believe it or not, with improved technology comes possibilities for improved learning. Maybe with the right tools, kids can learn to read and write and calculate at earlier ages, when their brains are more pliable.

Then again, you probably think Kids shouldn't have pre-school, and they should just get shoved into a government run public school when they turn 5 or 6, and "that will learn them."

Just guessing.

Re:Too Much Technology (1)

flibuste (523578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339453)

Technology might be making it too easy for them, so they don't even learn. Technology won't raise your kid. On the other hand, you as a parent might want to try learning them things rather than relying on the usual TV/Video-games/techno-toys parental dismissal combo. Happens a bit too often however...

copyright implications? (-1, Offtopic)

ghettotennis (122514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338809)

"Comments were used. They were posted in a public forum, which means that anyone
can quote from them - but we've removed any sort of identifying marks, to
protect people. This was down to impress upon those reading the gravity of the
situation."

Although I must confess that the last sentence of the above quote seems
incoherent to me, it seems that Jon Katz's understanding of fair use law is
flawed and incomplete. Asserting that the publishing of a copyrighted work into
a public forum nullifies the right of the copyright owner to restrict
distribution and benefit from the publishing of the work is utterly ludicrious
and goes against centries of precedent for the reasons that I will summarize
briefly. I don't have the inclination or time to put together a detailed point
by point rebuttal of the arguments put forward by Katz and Hemos (given their
faulty interpretation of copyright law, my comment could be reused in a context
different than that which permission for use is granted), but what I say should
be materially accurate. Now, I must preface my comment with the note that the
information presented here is only general information. If you want true legal
advice, you must obtain this from an attorney-client relationship with a
specific understanding of all the facts in a particular situation. This
information should not be relied on as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.

First, some definitions
"Willful infringement":the party distributing
copyrighted material was aware of infringment and went on despite this
"Good faith fair use defense": Ignorance of the law is not normally exculpatory,
however, demonstrating that one reasonably believed that what one did was fair
use may be cause for a court to refuse to award damages.

What is considered to be copyrighted?: The presence or absence of an explicit
copyright notice means essentially nothing after 1989. Posters do not place
their comments into the public domain unless they give explicit notification
that they do so; the notice at the bottom of every Slashdot page "All trademarks
and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are
owned by the Poster" lends additional credence to this concept.

When does copyright law come into effect?: If someone other than the copyright
owner wants to exercise rights that exclusively belong to the owner (including
reproduction, redistribution, creation of derivative works, performance,
archival, or display). Some uses are, however, exempt from liability from
infringement (including fair use, libraries, and certain educational purposes).

What constitutes fair use?: Traditionally, a four pronged test has applied to
determine whether a specific usage falls under fair use or not. These are:

1) The nature and character of the use: nonprofit, educational, artistic, and
personal uses tend to be looked upon more kindly than for-profit or commercial
uses. Closer on the continium to preserving the rights of the copyright owner
include criticism, newsreporting, and commentary. Note that receiving profits
from the sale of a derivative work and than donating these profits to a charity
does NOT fall under the category of nonprofit use; the user of the copyrighted
material gains a benefit from the sell of the derivative work.

2) The nature of the copyrighted work that is being used: Works that are
published and factual in character may be used more freely than creative or
imaginative works. Judging from most Slashdot comments, it would appear as if
many posters reflect on how incidents have affected their personal lives and
emotional state. This is not neccesarily of a factual nature.

3) Amount of work used: needless to say, taking a copyrighted work in its
entirety would severely diminish any plausible claim of fair use. I don't know
how much of each comment Katz reproduces in his book.

4) Effect of use on status of original work: The situation in this case leans
against fair use for the following four reasons. -The original comments are
still available and can be accessed freely. -The copyright owner/s is/are
identifiable, but, by Hemos' own admission no substantial effort was made to
locate them beyond a token effort and then a comment to the effect that it was
too difficult. -Avoids payment for permission in an established market, where
the owner of the comment has the reasonable expectation of being compensated for
the use of his or her work (witness Janes' effort to locate the people quoted in
their article)

-It is the specific intention of Katz and Hemos to delete all identifying
information such that no credit is given to the owner of the copyrighted work,
an enormous no-no in copyright law.

Considering these facts, especially the fourth prong of the test (interpreted
via Princeton University Press vs. Michigan Document Services wherein the
concept that the potential for economic damage caused by use of a copyrighted
work negates fair use, even without regard to the first three prongs of the
test), it seems beyond question that Jon Katz has made a severe mistake in
publishing what is essentially a derivative work blatantly drawing on the
creative works of others, with a deliberate effort to suppress the identities of
those who contributed materially to it.

Is there a return policy if mine happens to... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338814)

... CROAK?

Practical applications (4, Interesting)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338817)

While it's intended market is for children, the applications this could be used in are astounding for all ages. Lesson plans become interactive, doodles become narratives, and comments become richer. This would open up a unique interface which would benifit those who aren't technically proficient.

Not to mention a few crafty programmers and this could be a great tool for around the house.

or practical joke. :)

Re:Practical applications (1)

knarfling (735361) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338940)

Think about the teachers.
"Timmy, hand me your pen."
"Do I have to?? Okay"
"Pen, how many words are in Timmy's essay?"
"483"
"Timmy, this was a 500 word essay. Take it back and write some more."
"Stupid tattletale pen!!"

BSO... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338834)

B...S...O..D...

<sound of crashing car>

Oops!

neat, but... (5, Interesting)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338835)

would you really want to put down cold hard cash for this? it seems like just another thing that parents could buy to give their kids in hope that it'll help. If you were that age and got one of those, how much time would you really dedicate to it?

Re:neat, but... (1)

txz (717679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338914)

I doubt any parent would by this. They would kill the kid the first day. "Timmy I think you have written your name enough today."

Re:neat, but... (2, Interesting)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338924)

would you really want to put down cold hard cash for this?

Personally, I wouldn't. But, based on the number of Leapfrog toys we own already, I am sure my son's Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and various other hangers-on would be more than happy to purchase one for him.

Re:neat, but... (4, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339083)

I can't comment on this brand new product specifically, but my kids have the Leap Pad computer books, and I can tell you that, in fact, they do get used. Especially on long car trips. The Leap Pads have a fair-sized library of books you can buy for them, so it's easy for somebody to get the kids one when they want to give something in the $10-$15 range. And then of course there's ebay.

I think they're especially good for pre-readers. You touch part of the page with the attached pen, it says something about it. One book has a little "detective" narrative where touching a person gives you clues about them, and you use simple logic to guess whodunnit. And you can do basic music composition, learn the countries on the map, and of course pick up new vocabularity.

Re:neat, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339147)

The Leap Pads have a fair-sized library of books you can buy for them

I don't want to troll but you're telling me you needed some kind of stupid toy to buy books for your kids? You don't need any computer to read a book: buy one and use your eyes.

I can see it now (3, Funny)

knarfling (735361) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338844)

"Here I was writing some erotic fiction in my spare time, when my pen started moaning! I will never write erotic fiction in court again."

It's a pen, it's an otoscope (1)

Kid Brother of St. A (662151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338848)

That thing looks almost exactly like the ear thermometer we use on our kid. Or an otoscope. So maybe if you stick the pen in your ear, it'll tell you your body temperature? (Not that this would be a good habit to get kids into...)

If pens could talk (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338849)

> And remember to turn off the voice when making notes during meetings.

"Hey, who turned out the lights? WTF is this CueCat doing here? Oh no! GET ME OUT OF HERE YOU BASTARD! [userfriendly.org] "

Re:If pens could talk (1)

tsetem (59788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338936)

...and the Doctor said, if this is my thermometer, where's my pen?

And then a muffled scream of horror. "Get me out of here!!!"

The return of (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338853)

The return of Six Finger? [aaa-multimedia.com]

Re:The return of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339067)

Since it came to me instantly upon reading this, the remarkable doggerel/slogan at the end the TV commercial for this item has apparently been deeply inscribed in my memory:

Sixfinger, sixfinger, man alive!
How'd I ever get along with five?

Now with Lens Flare! (4, Informative)

hab136 (30884) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338879)

Since the picture isn't a photo but a computer-generated 3D drawing, I don't they've actually built one yet. No mention on their site [leapfrog.com] either.

Yikes! (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338894)

Anyone else think this is scary as all heck? Now, I'm not someone who avoids new technologies (I'm a computer engineer) but seriously, I think kids had better stick to pencils. Even at my age there is nothing I prefer more than a nice, simple mechanical pencil or a quality Pilot pen. We don't need computers in everything!

Re:Yikes! (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339131)

hmmm might have over reacted, I don't know where I'd be today without my Speak and Spell/Math. But I still don't want kids relying on marvels of technology for too much of their learning activities. Calculators in schools alone have really set back math skills, IMHO.

Re:Yikes! (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339250)

Maybe this would help step up math again. Instead of having a box with buttons on it that magically spits out answers, you still have to write down the equations in front of you. This could act like a tutor, if it sees you writing 5 x 3, then it will automatically know 15, but maybe it could hint to you, or say "this is multiplication", and not just tell you the answer.

-Jesse

Re:Yikes! [OFFTOPIC] (0, Offtopic)

narcc (412956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339482)

Blasphemer!

Logitech io pen for kids? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338905)

Slashdot covered this pen a while ago:

http://slashdot.org/articles/02/10/23/1631213.sh tm l?tid=126

I was reminded of this pen because of the need to use a special kind of paper that has unique microdots printed on it.

Re:Logitech io pen for kids? (1)

marshmeli (122728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339030)

Those are 2 different products...

The IO pen is already out: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/product list/US/EN,crid=1552
Its function is to record what you write and then you can easily transfer it to you computer and have a digital copy of the notes you just wrote.

This new product is complete different and makes writing "interactive". I guess the paper has a similar concept but this is much cooler (and scarier) and has a lot more potential.

Re:Logitech io pen for kids? (1)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339215)

dont forget to remove the space in "shtm l" when you paste it

Re:Logitech io pen for kids? (2, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339273)

I remembered various pens, but not the special paper. Yup, this sounds like they're using that technology. (It probably has a patent or two.) Since the Logitech one had USB, maybe Leapfrog has just hidden the connector? Add that 1 GB drive and a hackable OS...

I was wondering (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338917)

what logitech was going to do with that digital pen and paper failure of theirs.

remember the pen that as you write stored your writing in memory and then you could download to the computer but only IF you bought their horribly overpriced paper?

I was given one that came with a 30 page notepad. Neat idea, but it's data format was too closed so you either had to dink with it too much to send the "writings" to friends or they needed to download and install a special app.

still sitting in a drawer here at work, Used it for 1 meeting, got pissed at the software that supports it, and threw it there.

Re:I was wondering (1)

Flabby Boohoo (606425) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339149)

That was Cross.

Re:I was wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339196)

really??

then what is this? [logitech.com]

the lumpster is right, it looks like the 1st gen of the io pen... and yes, it did suck.

Re:I was wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339512)

You're a moron.

http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/pr.nsf/pages /n ews.19980331_crosspad.html

Re:I was wondering (2, Informative)

badmammajamma (171260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339337)

Looks like the io2 doesn't have this problem. According to the website you can pass the information easily into Word or emails, etc.

Re:I was wondering (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339570)

How much do you want for it?

Just how "smart" is this thing? (2, Interesting)

Miraba (846588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338920)

Considering the current translation technology, I'm not sure that such a function would be very useful. Also, just how smart is it's spelling? Can it correct for poorly drawn/backwards characters?

I know there's a grammar problem. (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338971)

Oy. Has anyone else had problems writing with proper grammar after reading too much poorly written stuff on the net?

Nope, no problem hear.... (2, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339168)

Aye taut meeselph teh 3Ng1e5h 0n slashdot!1

Re:Just how "smart" is this thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339175)

Also, just how smart is it's spelling? Can it correct for poorly drawn/backwards characters?

I don't know, but for your sake I hope it catches incorrect uses of its/it's.

Re:Just how "smart" is this thing? (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339360)

Can it correct for poorly drawn/backwards characters?

You'll have to buy their smart Fly Pencil for that. It comes with an editor attachment on the other end.

In all their wisdom.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338921)

Leapfrog made the fly, Then forgot to tell us why

Leapfrog (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338929)

They make some pretty cool stuff, as far as educational toys for kids go. I know my kids love the little PDA-style "cramming" device.

The schools are missing out on this stuff. The whole point is that teachers can put content up on the web (this weeks spelling words, for example), and the kids can download and practice with the toy.

Though, they only teach PC language and consumerism these days. Apparently the only thing kids need to know is how to open their wallet.

What if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338932)

they put BlueTooth and a Gyro in it... I would love to have a pen that would "hand-write" anything that I typed...

Re:What if... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339098)

I would love to have a pen that would "hand-write" anything that I typed...

Would be great for entering those mail-in sweepstakes, eh Lazlo?

Re:What if... (1)

RipTides9x (804495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339489)

Unfortunately Lazlo isn't Lazlo anymore, now he's Uncle Rico. Didn't anyone else here watch Napolean Dynomite?

No doubt, the slim line 'ladies'' version ... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11338941)

will come with three settings.

All good until it starts writing by itself (1)

timster121 (820967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338956)

"Stuck in a pen factory. Please send help."

American or Canadian version? (2, Insightful)

qualico (731143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338957)

My daughter has a Leapfrog Learning Center, care of eBay.
The novelty was worn pretty quick though, now it sits on top of the heap.

My complaint is that I want those talking items to have more Canadian versions.

So can I upgrade that pen's firmware?
How about some Canadian dialect eh?
And some more Canadian geography or history too?
We know more about America than our own country.

Regardless, LeapFrog sure is pumping out the product;
http://www.leapfrog.com/do/browseproduct s

Re:American or Canadian version? (1)

CajunElder (787443) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339099)

Canada is a country??? I thought it was just another state like Mexico!

Dam US publick skool education failed me again.

Re:American or Canadian version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339546)

If you want product focused on CA, then contact the company. You have to squeak if you want the grease.
Dialect will probably be the trickiest part -- since you are will be asking for a complete translation of the written materials etc not just someone reading with a Canadian accent.

My now 6yo son got a basic leap pad a few years ago from the grandparents. He used it quite a bit and the range of books has really increased over the past few years. He's now reading at about 5-6 years above grade and only touches his leap pad for bi-lingual books. The three year old son is now using the leap pad a lot. I see him starting to show signs of becoming and early reader too:
The other day I asked "How do you know that's a peanut flavored granola bar?" and got "Dad, don't you see that 'p', p goes puh like peanut".

The best leapfrog device I've seen in the past year or so is an alphabet tool (Fridge Phonics or somesuch name) that goes on the fridge. Plastic letters have magnets and stick to the fridge, and theres a base unit (also sticks magnetically). Insert letters and it identifies the letters and present the associated sounds for the letter. Things like this have been around for a while without the magnets. Magnetic letters have been around for a long time without the technology. This is a really great convergence. AND BEST OF ALL the letters are raised a couple of cm making the too big to slide under the refrigerator!

Prior Art (2, Funny)

clinko (232501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338984)

Prior Art!!!

Bill Cosby had a talking pen in Picture Pages in the early 80's. [clinko.com]

It even sang and danced...

Why is this news??? (1)

alex_ware (783764) | more than 9 years ago | (#11338999)

Already [logitech.com] done. [nokia.com]

Low on details... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339002)

Leapfrog as just announced their Fly pen computer for children. It talks, giving feedback as they write and draw, and with special Fly paper, you can draw a calculator, press the 'buttons' with the pen and it will read the answers.

I read TFA and even tried dig up technical specifications on their webpage. There seems to be a dirth of details about the device.

What kind of feedback are we talking about here? Does it recognize random/badly drawn figures? Does it take wild guesses if I draw something mildly resembling an apple (circle, oval, egg, round)? What exactly is the purpose of the "feedback"? Trying to make the pen guess what's being drawn?

I agree the calculator example sounds interesting...but again, how accurate is the character/image recognition? Handwriting (especially with small kids) is notoriously difficult to recognize....and we're talking about random images here. How effective is this thing? How does it even know I've drawn a calculator? It's going to be just a series of squares containing numbers.

I agree a device capable of recognizing handwriting and drawing in real time could have interesting applications, but I'll believe it when I see it...they seem to be making a lot of vague promises here.

Re:Low on details... (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339283)

s/dirth/dearth/

Alex, I'll take... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339063)

The Penis Mightier for $1000

Re:Alex, I'll take... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339229)

Woah, are you selling Penis Mightiers?

FYuckEr (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339085)

from now on Or THINKING ABOUT IT.

Inspiration? (1, Redundant)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339092)

Does anyone else think it was inspired by Logitech's product [logitech.com] ?

I personally wouldn't have needed that as a child. I went to a Catholic school when I was learning to write. The feedback I got was from a nun with a yardstick. No talking pen needed.

Yard sticks is mightier than the sword

Re:Inspiration? (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339506)

" Does anyone else think it was inspired by Logitech's product?"

You're correct. It's a licensing/branding exercise, not a new product.

Actually, rendering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339109)

Here's a picture of the device.

Actually, here's a rendering of the device.

If your kids have Leapfrog products... (1)

scottsevertson (25582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339154)

...you'll know it'll sorta work about 50% of the time. Relatives have given my 4-year-old three different toys from them; not one has worked consistantly.

In fact, the only thing reliable about their products is making my daughter cry after the toy crashes for the third time in five minutes!

Re:If your kids have Leapfrog products... (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339404)

In fact, the only thing reliable about their products is making my daughter cry after the toy crashes for the third time in five minutes!

My 4 year old son has both a My First Leappad and the Leappad plus Writing, and both work flawlessly. He's not particularly careful with it either (drops in on the floor when he's done with it, pops the cartridges in and out with the power on, etc). The Leappad writing system is new to him, so we'll see how that works, but he's had the other one for over a year with no problems.

Re:If your kids have Leapfrog products... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339427)

Funny, my son hasn't had any problems- in fact, the two he has (Leapfrog's nursery rhymes and the Leapfrog piano) seem to be so robust in comparison to his other toys. Of course, at 19 months, he's not learning much from them yet- other than if you throw certain computer equipment against the wall it will do something at random....

Clippy in physical form ... (1)

mingrassia (49175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339172)


>> It talks, giving feedback as they write and draw

This does sound cool, but I have to admit that when I read the above line it immediately reminded of how damn annoying clippy is.

The last thing I want is for my pen to talk to me while I am trying to compose a letter. But then again this thing is for "children".

Re:Clippy in physical form ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339485)

In the bank (loudly): "I see you're trying to write a stick-up note. Maybe you shouldn't do it on the back of one of your own personalized checks Brainiac."

Kid's version of Logitech device (1)

monkeyfarm (197818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339185)

This Leap frog gizmo is essentially the same as THIS [logitech.com] device from Logitech.

You want a 1GB USB drive? (2, Funny)

Kippesoep (712796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339234)

What're you writing? The Encyclopeadia Britannica? A Windows bug list? You'd still have room to transcribe the entire Linux kernel, the Bible and War & Peace! (Well, perhaps not if you include the Windows bug list, but you get my point!)

Re:You want a 1GB USB drive? (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339550)

Not just writing. File storage/transfer too. Put it in command line mode and write ls -l. (Feature: When you transfer a load of files to it, it speaks "Oh my god, I'm full of pr0n!")

Re the picture (-1, Redundant)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339262)

Is that lens flare really necessary? You'd think they were 12 year olds who just warez'd Paint Shop Pro...

So many uses (1)

minister of funk (123188) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339358)

I like the idea of drawing a calculator and then using it. I'm not a huge fan of the spoken answer though.

Drop the speaker, add a bluetooth interface, an RF transmitter and possibly an infrared transmitter and the interface possibilities open up exponentially.

Draw a universal remote and use it. I think this would be a good tool for human interface design, and much cheaper than a smartboard+projector.

While you're at it, make it a cellphone, too! Actually that's dumb. The bluetooth interface would make adding contacts to your bluetooth-enabled phone's address book easier.

the talking pen says: (5, Funny)

kertong (179136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339447)

"Hello! I see that you are writing a suicide letter.

May I suggest:
- A new template (?)
- A slower, more painful way to die(?)
- The Grammar Wizard (?)

If there is anything else you need, please feel free to contact my distant brother, Clippy.

Have a nice day!"

it's picture page.. (1)

kevinx (790831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11339516)

Isn't this a similar concept to what bill cosby had in his morning tv show picture page. I remember thinking how cool that wierd pen was that made sound ant talked. As a child I really wanted one. Then I remember seeing one at toys are us or something similar. It made crappy sound as your drew with it and was really cheap. Was a big let down... But remembering back to how much I really wanted one, I could see this being a really popular item given proper marketing.

Learning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11339558)

Now if we just combined it with the technology of the PainStation [painstation.de] , we'd have a real learning tool:

Mrs. Crabapple: Ralph, I want you to use this new pen.
*scribble scribble*
Ralph: It feels like burning!
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