Technology and security

Technology is all around us and we mostly embrace it. Unfortunately, as we have seen even companies such as the huge Eurofins sometimes have people attack our way of life through our digital systems, so we have to take steps to protect them.

Protection comes in many forms, but it starts at the very beginning and never ends.

By combining old and new technology we can make a start to make our systems secure that when something does go wrong, or is compromised we still have the paper records to back it up. That’s why I am introducing you to the Livescribe Aegir smartpen by Anoto Group AB.

Anoto, is a global leader in digital writing and drawing solutions. Its technology platform and branded products enable high-precision pen or stylus input on nearly any surface — from capturing and digitizing handwritten notes and business forms on paper to designing, creating and collaborating directly on large interactive displays, whiteboards, and walls up to 24 feet.

When we write reports, we use pens or digital devices that can be used to type or record our voices while ensuring the integrity of our evidence. Livescribe helps us do that and brings a new system into play.

Each of the four types of pen have different capabilities from the Sky, to the Pulse, through to the newest incarnation the Aegir.

The Aegir is a similar size to ordinary pens and houses a replaceable ink refill which can be easily changed and a digital camera system.

The camera is charged by USB to a computer or charging device and records the data of each stroke you make when writing or drawing. It is very accurate and holds a huge amount of data. Of course, you can clear the pen down as with any digital storage if you start to run out of space but because you have already backed it up incrementally all the data is secure.

Talking about back-ups the present way to do this is via Bluetooth to a mobile device on Android or IOS. The pen connects and saves the notepad pages used, picking up each time to only transfer the data not previously sent to the mobile device.

Thankfully the file size is quite small so has not used up all my memory on the phone!

The notebooks are spiral bound books that have pages prepared with millions of microdots that the camera captures. It knows what book you are using, the page and records your strokes with ease.

The recording can be played back at a later date so if combined with the Pencast feature (recorded via the mobile device within the Livescribe app) placing the pen in a part of the page of writing will also play back the sounds recorded at the same time. Ideal for students, in meetings or while in a laboratory setting.

Imagine this at a crime scene!  Your recording your notes onto the templated prepared crime scene report, you transfer to the mobile device and it automatically sends it to a number of various back up systems as well (Evernote, G Drive and more). The handwriting can be converted to text (this still needs a bit of work in my view) but speeds the report typing when you are back in the office no end.

In the lab you can use the standard Livescribe notebooks and even though they are spiral bound the pages are all numbered, plus if someone did try to alter your notes they would need the same pen you used, and if they don’t have it you can clearly see the original entries even if they used a huge marker pen to cover them over, because its all save digitally.

Even if they did manage to get your pen the fact you can replay the strokes means that you can clearly see what was written originally, but also when it was recorded over! Security itself.

Gary Howard is a Crime Scene Investigator and Manager in the United Kingdom having previously worked for the Royal Military Police Forensic Support Unit and he designed and built the first fingerprint facility in the Caribbean. Through his company Complete Forensics C.I.C. Gary delivers the annual WorldSkills UK Forensic Science competition, educates others and is also studying for a BSc(Hons) in Chemistry at Huddersfield University.

More details can be found on his company website including images of the Livescribe pens in use.

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