We’ve talked at length in previous posts about the digital office and how we might move away from paper use when we work. That’s not to say paper should be eliminated—it has its advantages. One of the most enduring and certainly ubiquitous is the Post-It note. While information can get out of hand if you end up with stickies pasted across your entire workspace, the lowly note does excel at brief reminders and last minute addendums. But what if you could have the ease and free-form nature of the Post-It combined with the power of an online database to store and sort everything you write down? Enter “Quickies” from the MIT Media Lab.
Instead of tossing out the paper altogether, Quickies combine a traditional pad with a digital pen and a wireless connection. As you jot your note, the base of the pad sends your handwriting through software on your PC which optically recognizes the characters and deciphers the gist of the message. If you’re writing about a meeting, an appointment is added to your calendar. If you’re addressing someone, the message is SMSed through your contacts to the appropriate person. The pads even have RFID chips attached to each note so that you can leave a Quickie in a book and find it in the future by locating its radio signal. And you can ultimately toss the paper—each note is graphically stored on your computer. Which begs the question whether we’ll see an entirely paperless version, or at least have the option.