Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Digital pen: a hot tool to identify, track and respond to emergencies

Post by Tsehay Gashaw (FAOSFE)

Mobile technology plays an important role helping people make decisions, policy makers assess options, researchers collect data more effectively.

Digital pens were a topic of keen attention in this week’s plenary discussions on mobile devices. Joseph Matere from FAO Kenya explained that the digital pen is a rapid way to collect, collate and share information and data. He explained how it is being used as part of animal disease surveillance systems to identify and track disease outbreaks in Kenya.

Previously,  it took four to six weeks for a disease to be identified and mitigation measures provided. Often, animals had died and the disease was spread to a very large area. The digital pen helps us deliver rapid identification and diagnoses of diseases – and rapid responses!

The digital pen is a ‘simple’ pen with a built in camera and processor that works with special ‘dot matrix’ paper.


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