A 1990s "talking paper" technology that didn't catch on


In the early 1980ies, you could get prints of your snaps that offered “Audio-Annotation”. The prints had a stripe of magnetic tape on their backside. You then had to swipe the print thorough a contraption (like you’d swipe a credit card) to record / play back a couple of seconds of audio.
For some reason it flopped, fancy that.



After a bit of searching on the Interwebs, here’s what I found…

The main product shown in the video is the Olympus “ScanTalk Reader” R300 (ST1200 RWS) that originally came out in Japan in late 1999, and seems to have sold for around 8000 yen. There also was an earlier R200 pen shaped reader called “ScanTalk Leader R200” (possible typo for “Reader R200”?), and seems to have sold for around 14000 yen, and was relaesed in 1998. The player supported 3 quality settings, enabling playback of 24, 48, or 64 seconds of audio. The stand-alone companion label printer seems to be called (I think) “ScanTalk Label Printer” (LP100). The software for PCs was called “Sound Print Studio”, and sold for around 9800 yen with the R300 reader. There seemed to be both a “full” and “lite” version of the software for Windows PCs. These products don’t seem to have been marketed outside of Japan, and the Olympus FAQ pages states at the bottom “This product is exclusively for Japan. Do not use it overseas”.

All of the above products were discontinued by Olympus on 2001-11-30, and sales halted on 2007-04-31.


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