Fly pentop computer for children [Business Week]

Developed by LeapFrog Enterprises, a maker of educational toys, the amazingly clever Fly “pentop” computer is just what it sounds like: a talking computer hidden within a pen the size of an electric toothbrush.

The gadget, which contains an actual ink pen, can “see” what you write, read it out loud, and respond to written commands. At the heart of these capabilities lies a tiny camera, which is embedded near Fly’s writing tip, and special Fly paper, which must be used with the device. The dots printed on this paper and invisible to the eye tell the pen’s camera exactly where it’s positioned on the paper, so as it moves, the pen “sees” exactly what you write.

The device, aimed at 9- to 14-year-olds, is likely to be a hit. Kids can use it as a calculator, keep a calendar, create and record music, and play complex logic and geography games.

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