Computers & Mobile
TOOLBOX: FLY pentop computer from LeapFrog

LeapMAKE pal Chris Ford writes “The FLY pentop computer from LeapFrog is a new toy that Leapfrog is putting out. It is supposed to be released Oct 12. It recognizes handwriting and repeats what is written. I had the pleasure of trying one out last night and was absolutely blown away. It’s writing recognition is exceptional (I have horrible penmanship and it didn’t even skip a beat). It works as a scheduler and keeps your appointments. It does math (basic arithmetic)…It allows you to draw a piano keyboard or drumset and play them. It works on specially designed proprietary paper (small random dots printed on the paper so that the pen can recognize it’s orientation). There is also a Spanish translator coming out for it (it has a interchangeable cartridge system) that will translate what you write in English into Spanish. It’s really hard to explain how entertaining this piece is without you actually experiencing it. I’m sure that this thing will be hackable. It has a set of contacts on the back of it (I’m guessing for a compute!
r link). It will have an MSRP of $100.

P.S. It recognized every word I threw at it. And yes even with my sophomoric sense of humor even “those” words. It repeated every vulgarity in the book except for one and of course that would be the f-bomb which it replaced by saying “bleep” Link.

12 thoughts on “TOOLBOX: FLY pentop computer from LeapFrog

  1. Hang on. It does on the fly Spanish translation for $100? That’s incredible and slightly insane… Just a simple drum machine sells for £50 over here.

    This is going to storm the market. Just the accelerometers (assuming it has one or two) and the optical head are going to be great for hundreds of projects.

    As long as it is better than the Siemens “Pocket Reader” which was too big for your pocket and couldn’t read…

  2. I just got mine today, and am really impressed as well. Note that it is based on technology from Anoto (http://www.anoto.com/), which means you need to write on special paper printed with microdots for Fly to be able to recognize anything. This lets it get away with a relatively simple scheme for capturing what you write using a “camera”, since the paper gives position information directly.

    I’m excited to start hacking this thing. The expansion card slot has 24 pins (12 contacts on each side), so the first order of business is creating a little breakout box. Fortunately, the Fly and the dummy card it comes with are easy to disassemble (just some screws). That, and the dummy card isn’t necessary for the Fly to function, so I’ll probably sacrifice mine to create the breakout box.

    Also, I was interested to note that the recharging station has what appears to be a USB port on it, and the Fly clearly has about 6 pins to interface with the station… I’m betting some of those pins are serial communication.

    I’ll post all of my findings on the make site.

  3. I just purchased one of these for my kids, they really needed one :-)
    It is actaully a very interesting little learning tool. Wonder how difficult to add bluetooth or wi-fi (if at all possible). Peharps combining this with a Gumstix. Where I think it would be interesting is that the pen could then have Net access – tie it to Google for on the fly queries, mapping, and more.
    Since the one I bought is a gift I did not tear apart. But if someone gets this rolling I would be happy to buy another to modify, etc.

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