Washington, January 20 : Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed electronic sticky notes which can be used to send reminders and messages through e-mails or a mobile device.
The researchers call their new prototype the 'Quickies'.
Pattie Maes, an associate professor at the institute who developed the new technology with graduate student Pranav Mistry, says that it aims to merge digital media with the paper world in a way that improves upon an already ubiquitous method for staying organized.
"It's clear to everyone by now that paper will never go away," iscovery News quoted her as saying. ut, Maes adds, "if you have a paper document on your desk, you can't necessarily search it. It's not part of your electronic organizational system."
The Quickies are very similar to Post-It notes in appearance, but they combine artificial intelligence, natural language processing, ink recognition technologies, and radio frequency identification tags into a modern version of the reliable analog.
They are placed on an electronic pad that converts handwriting into a digital form.
Custom software developed by the research team recognizes letters, numbers and symbols to distinguish an appointment from a contact, and a contact from a label. It later integrates the information into the appropriate application, such as an address book or calendar.
The researchers have revealed that the quickie notes would come embedded with a radio frequency identification tag (RFID). A person can use the Quickie system to hone in on a tagged item by installing inexpensive RFID receivers at home or office.
Just in case a person is away and not aware that his/her boss has changed the time of meeting, the quickies will automatically send him/her an instant message regarding the same.
Maes believes that the ability to handwrite information may improve the lives of people are still uncomfortable using computers.
"Somebody who hates using a keyboard and windows, he could instead benefit from what a computer provides, like organizing and searching information," she said.
David Newbold, an engineer at IBM Corporation in Somers, New York, said: "They have shown something that is incredibly compelling. It's such an obvious integration."
He, however, added that for Quickies to become as ubiquitous as the Post-It Note, the necessary tether to a computer would need to be eliminated.
He said that in a couple of years, the technology might be available to print the RFID tag and reader on each note. When you get to that level where you don't need a computer or a tag or tag reader, it will have real utility," said Newbold.
Maes and Mistry, who are currently working with some large industry sponsors, believe that their technology may find its way to market in two to five years.