Digital pens are nothing new on the market. You can browse through tens of solutions that allow you to transfer your handwriting to the computer without scanning. Poland has its own solution, called the IC Pen, but its team has added its own twist to it: not only does the pen scan the page it writes on, but it can also store biometric properties of a signature, thus making electronic documents legally signed.
The main idea of IC Pen is Invisible Computing – creating solutions invisible for the users. After many consultations with medical personnel, the IC Pen team decided that they are able to solve the problem of medical documentation digitalization. Two main obstacles to creating an efficient digital system were the reluctance and inability of some patients (especially elderly) to use tablets and computers while filling out the forms, as well as the legal aspects of electronic signatures.
From the perspective of the user, IC Pen looks – and is used – like a regular pen. Every patient fills all documents by hand. In the meantime, the pen scans the paper and tracks the changes on the document’s layout. When you sign the paper, it recognizes the pressure, speed of strokes, as well as the time of writing. Unlike in other solutions of this type, you sign a specific electronic document, which fulfills the legal requirements of an electronic signature.
Page scanning is the main unique feature of IC Pen. Before printing, you have to prepare all documents in their software. During this preparation, every page is covered with hundreds of dots invisible for the naked eye. Once you start writing, the pen activates a CCD camera to scan the dots and remember the layout of the page. All information is stored in a flash memory and transferred to the computer using Bluetooth or USB.
IC Pen was founded by Rafał Witkowski, the CEO, and Krzysztof Krzywdziński. They are both lecturers at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Shortly after the launch, they received funding from the European Union and from their home university. Now, their products is used to fill out approximately 1000 pages a day.
The IC Pen system has already achieved some successes, the most notable of which was the introduction of their product in OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). The IC Pen technology is also used to monitor election processes. They also cooperate with the Polish health care system and plan to implement their solution in other fields, such as banking or social care (first implementations have already taken place).