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May I have your autograph?


Famous authors have a problem: loads of eager fans who want them to autograph their books. This can often mean the that authors have to travel massive distances up and down the country, and even around the world, to book shops to sign copies of their latest best-sellers. It is also expensive and some shops (and even countries) can't afford to pay the authors to visit.

Hockey sticks and basketballs are next

Booker Prize winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood has applied computer science to help her solve this problem, and invented the LongPen. The LongPen allows her to sign books by remote control using an Internet connection. While chatting by video link to the fans Margaret can sign her autograph onto an electronic pad. It coverts the signature for transmission to two robotic metal arms in the bookshop that write her autograph and message into the fan's book.

There is also work underway to make it possible to sign hockey sticks and basketballs with the pen. It's clearly an application of computer science that celebrities will be drawn to.