Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Date-Stamping Pen

Pen that encodes time and date in ink
  [vote for,

Many are the occasions on which I have scrawled a note or drawing while neglecting to record the time and date of creation thereon. Consequently, I propose a pen capable of encoding a time stamp within its output.

The end of the pen vibrates up and down, so instead of a line it draws a series of dots – very closely spaced dots so it looks like a line to the naked eye. However, when viewed under magnification, the dots form a 24-bit binary number.

If you find a scribbling on an envelope-back, and you want to know when you wrote it, simply look at the dots through the magnifying lens attached to the end of the pen, enter the number into the built in computer via the “0” and “1” buttons, then read the date and time (to the nearest minute) on the LED display.

AO, Jun 23 2003

Picture of date-stamping pen http://www.geocitie...hdesign/DatePen.htm
[AO, Oct 17 2004]

Xerox DataGlyphs http://www.parc.xer...s/techoverview.html
A real technology that also encodes data invisibly into written material, though not with a pen. [krelnik, Oct 17 2004]

What do you make of this, po? http://www.liv.ac.u...9/images/queen2.jpg
[AO, Oct 17 2004]


       Interesting concept, though I think you need to work on the playback mechanism (a magnifying glass seems a little prosaic in this digital age).
DrCurry, Jun 23 2003

       if the line is drawn above your signature, it signifies you are a home-loving person and if you draw it beneath your name in one giant loop it means you are sexually depraved (especially when there is an r in the month or a full moon)
po, Jun 23 2003

       (Makes mental note to stop signing giant loops on letters to po.)
DrCurry, Jun 23 2003

       I could use something that automatically dated my scratchings.   

       I was expecting a laser in the pen that would burn the date (normal print size) in to the paper as a separate step or a tiny printhead in the blunt end that would print the date when dragged across the paper. I like the proposed method better.   

       An obvious "playback device" for AO's method would be a microscopic scanner and decoder in the non-writing end of the pen.
half, Jun 23 2003

       Or accurately dates the sweat, and sebaceous deposits, left by your hand on the paper.
Zanzibar, Jun 23 2003

       Add two chemicals to the ink that evaporate slowly, but at different rates. The pen has a sniffer that measures the ratio of the two chemicals in the vapor and uses that to calculate the age of the writing. It's a little like carbon dating, just for shorter time scales.
kbecker, Jun 23 2003

       How would that work, if there were two date stamps on the page?
Zanzibar, Jun 23 2003

       It only sniffs where you point it, not the whole sheet.
kbecker, Jun 23 2003

       OK, so no outgassing of ink, whilst in the pen? That's probably doable, with those nitrogen-filled refills. Otherwise the ink will age in the pen, giving false readings.
Zanzibar, Jun 23 2003

       Interesting idea, but would it work reliably? The dot spacing would depend on the speed you drew the line at and the spreading of the ink when it hits the surfce that you are writing on. Can't be too close togehter or they will blur together, cant be too far e.   

       [half] you have just finished your schematic of a working time machine, only to see it combust before your eyes, ignited by the automatic date stamping laser burner...
cevilthedevil, Jun 24 2003

       Boy, I'm in trouble - I'm a loop-de-loop signer.
Per AO's link - that sig indicates the whole world revolves around the signer.
thumbwax, Jun 24 2003

       yep, one big ego there or plenty of in-breeding
po, Jun 24 2003


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