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Livescribe Echo Smartpen
Winner - Silver
Designer: Mr. Dan Harden - President/CEO
Design Type: Consumer Electronics
Team Member: Dan Harden The Echo Smart Pen is a highly effective learning tool because it links audio to what you write - a student can read their notes and re-listen to the lecture simultaneously. Additional software provides even more levels of learning assistance such as converting ink handwriting notes to text and audio translation in 26 languages. Echo is used the same way one would use a regular ballpoint pen, and to start or stop recording, just tap icons on the edge of the dot paper. Echo is the first product ever to combine all four modes of communication (reading, writing, speaking and listening) in the simple, low cost, and convenient format of pen and paper. Echo is a high tech computer but it feels low tech in its analog pen form factor. Echo’s design is tightly linked to its productivity benefits. Echo solves the burden of information overload in its ability to capture information naturally, and makes it accessible and shareable. We didn’t want the design to distract from this experience so we kept it clean and simple. Echo’s learning and communication benefits are enhanced and enabled by the design. It is easy to hold, with unique ergonomic contouring, has a soft grip surface in front, and has ideal feature locations (speaker, mic, display, connectors). It even has a flat spot on its bottom to prevent the pen from rolling. Echo is a joy to use. It feels magical to tap on a note and hear the exact lecture or conversation when you wrote the note (or even hear it in another language). It’s satisfying also to upload your notes and audio to a computer where they can be replayed, saved, searched and sent. The design never gets in the way of this holistic and enjoyable method of learning and communicating. Echo offers a customized learning experience. Students can speed up, slow down or replay a lecture's audio to more effectively develop both oral and written skills. Students also have limitless access to teacher instruction plus the ability to self–monitor by recording their own voice for fluency exams and oral reports. The speaker, microphone, display and UI design support and enhance these functions. Echo is attractive, with flowing forms, compound surfaces, and expressive details. Students from around the world enjoy its appearance and are proud to show it off to others. SUCCESS: Since its introduction over 1,000,000 units sold and corporate revenues had doubled from the year before. Echo recently won top honors at the D&AD Awards London where it was voted World top 4 products of 2012.