Imagine if you could pick up a digital file or a note on a computer and pass it to a colleague’s computer as easily as you can give them a paper document or a Post-It note.

The typical ways of exchanging files, using e-mail, discs, or a shared file server, are impractical or clumsy in many cases.

Dr Jun Rekimoto and his team at the Sony Interaction Laboratory ( have been grappling with these challenges, and recently presented their research to an international audience in Vienna, at the CHI2004, a conference on how we interact with computers.

Dr Rekimoto’s lab has extended the drag and drop technique used in most PC software to create a ‘pick and drop’ technique.

So the owner of a handheld computer can pick up a file from their device, using a special pen, and drop it onto the screen of another computer, by placing the pen on its screen.

More here.