How Does the DiscoveryPEN work ?

The DiscoveryPEN is simple, but effective and affordable, technology which is used in schools, by the RNIB, for Bird recognition, and for Museums, Heritage Houses, and Nature Trails. The pen has 3 buttons, although only the power button is needed to listen to an audio trail.

Turn on the power button and touch any ‘sound-spot’ printed on leaflets, badges, posters etc. The sensor tip detects the sound spot and plays back the allocated mp3 file.  The pen-user can pause the recording by clicking the M button quickly, or stop it by touching another sound spot. The user defines their own sequence. (The record button is for project work in which venues have student visitors, such as talking panels.) The audio port is for headphones or power speakers, and can be used by people with partial hearing-loss via RNIB approved induction-loop earphones. There is a USB port which is used to recharge the batteries, or to transfer files for new trails. The silicone sleeve protects against knocks and prevents users from accessing the rechargeable batteries. There is also a point for attaching lanyards.  Inside is an 8GB SD card, expandable to 16GB. (8GB will give approximately 150 hours of recording.) Charging time is 1.5 hours, and the pen will run for an average 2500 'taps' on a sound spot (much more if headphones are used). The built-in speakers provide enough sound for normal sound environments, and many users set volume levels where they can hold the pen near their ear like a phone.

It’s easy to make your own tour... A step by step approach:

  1. Curator designs the trail or interpretation concept. The audio is recorded either in studio or in place, depending on type of trail being developed. Client sends high-resolution artwork and audio files to us. 
  2. Curator also sends low-res artwork with sound-spots clearly marked with the corresponding audio-file name.
  3. We will pass artwork with sound files through our workflow, and send Curator a sample of the compiled artwork and audio for testing for accuracy. Please make any changes to the audio at this stage.
  4. Once authorised, we will publish to client's specification - multiple copies of leaflets, metal backed panels, recordable labels, etc.
  5. We will also load all pens with the .ap4 file
  6. We will post full order (if DiscoveryPEN case is ordered...)

    The longest phase in this time sequence is point 1. That is why we do not hold the copyright. You do, this is your creation!

"We are very excited to get started. There are so many possibilities. This will really benefit our site."

John Fletcher, Manager of Oral Histories, Anderson House

"There is this 'Ah Ha' moment when visitors used the pen. It is magic."

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

"We are very pleased with the Discovery PEN - It is an easy way to increase accessibility within the galleries."

Katey Boal - Learning Manager, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre


"The audio was great. Very easy to follow and find sites and I am directionally challenged. Excellent guide for all ages. It was very easy to use. I wear hearing aids and I could hear it very clearly. Thankyou for a very interesting tour"

Visitor Feedback - Oxford Botanical Garden

"This is probably the most accessible trail of people of all kinds of disabilities in the entire state. I really hope it spreads."

Accessibility Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Fern Trail

"The pilot project has been so successful that the pen will be extended to more galleries and collection."

Paul Sullivan - Museum Access and Inclusion Officer, Bristol

"The DiscoveryPEN has been very successful in our trial and has received excellent feedback. We have extended its run and will certainly look to use this on a wider scale in the Museum in the future – incorporating different languages too."

British Golf Museum.