Summary:

Ever wished for a spell check function for handwritten notes? With this connected pen on Kickstarter, that misspelled word will generate a gentle buzz so you know to try again. Or grab a dictionary.

lernstift_prototype
photo: Lernstift

With a Kickstarter pledge of £109 (add £10 for overseas shipping) that equals about $162, I could never misspell potato or broccoli again on my grocery list.

The Lernstift pen, a project created by two fathers hoping to help their children detect spelling and handwriting mistakes, looks like a pretty cool project that shows how radio technology embedded vision and fancy algorithms can all come together to add more interactivity to a device.

The pen combines electronics and connectivity to gently vibrate when a person using it spells a word incorrectly or writes illegibly. A lot of things go into this package — from licensing handwriting recognition software to building a custom board that’s oval instead of rectangular. And because it’s a fledgling product, it might never get made, but the founders are hoping to have the first products to backers this fall.

An early pen prototype.

An early pen prototype.

Earlier this week I got excited by a Google Glass app for CPR that used the sensors inside Glass to give people feedback on their CPR technique, because I believe that feedback and interaction is one attribute that can define the future of the web. This pen is another example in that it monitors how a person writes and what they write to let people know when they have misspelled words or have bad letter formation.

The product is intended to help children learn to write and spell, but because it’s connected and the creators seem focused on keeping it relatively open, it could be used in a variety of ways, from collaboration (you could see what I’m drawing on paper, on your screen in real time) to tracking multiple children’s writing progress in the classroom. And I could finally stop writing “brocolli” on my grocery lists.

It’s yet another example of how the benefits of the digital world (spell check!) are creeping into our physical one thanks to sensors and connectivity.

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