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Lernstift Vibrating Pen Making a Buzz on Kickstarter

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Earlier this year we heard about Lernstift, a concept for a pen that helps kids spell and write correctly by vibrating to point out mistakes. The folks behind this promising invention have now launched a fundraiser on Kickstarter. The questions I had when I first saw it remain unanswered though.

lernstift vibrating pen

Inventor Falk Wolsky’s idea for the pen remains the same. Its basic functions are still to oversee the user’s spelling and the legibility of his handwriting. When it detects a mistake, it vibrates to alert the user. But with the launch of their fundraiser, Wolsky and his colleagues have revealed more about the hardware inside the pen. Lernstift has a motion sensor, a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a magnetometer. The pen’s processor will use these devices to create a 2D image of the user’s handwriting, which it will then analyze using a handwriting recognition software.

lernstift vibrating pen 3

While the team is confident in the pen’s hardware, they’re still working on the best way to process the data that its sensors gather to ensure a quick and accurate response. They’ve also revealed that they’re not working on their own handwriting recognition engine and will instead license one from an established company. That should make it easier for Lernstift to be released and updated to support more languages; the pen will only be able to recognize English and German when it launches, but they supposedly have access to a database of over 40 languages.

Pledge at least¬†¬£89 (~$135 USD) on Kickstarter to get a Lernstift as a reward. I have to say though, it’s not clear at the moment just how polished or far along they are with the pen. Notice how they didn’t demonstrate even the pen’s basic functions in their pitch video.

As I said in my previous post about the pen, I’m still not sold on its usefulness. It’s still not clear how it will help you find out the right spelling, form or grammar. Yes, it could buzz the moment you make a mistake, but what then? How do you find out what you’re supposed to do? I’m hopeful that Wolsky and his team will answer these questions soon. Also, do kids still use pens?





Comments (2):

  1. Falk Wolsky says:

    Hello Lambert,
    i try briefly to answer some of your questions…

    1) if you see the video with exchangeable tips you will maybe notice the vibration at my misspelling… But as it is our job – its unobstrusive. It must be! Imagine a classroom scenario in which each student will be noticed about the misspellings of other students. We have produced the vide early and it costs much. So we decide not to spend money on a new promo video…

    2) Our second problem is – we are in patent writing. We have filed 3 patents out of 17 planned patents. So we cant discuss in public how we do some things i detail in the moment. Behind of the Lernstift as a product we create a new “product plattform” like the Anoto. Means the patent process is sensitive…

    3) We like to realize with Lernstift a clean understandable product. So we simply start with the 2 functions. Regarding the ortography mode we start with vibration at spelling of single words. No grammar or punktuation at the Kickstarter charge. But! We have a system to actualize the software on the pen with our smartphone app. So everyone can be still updated (with the same hardware). In 2014 we publish then a service for the community to create grammar and punctuation rules. We also like to add rules by ourselves but our resources per languages are not endless. So we think it should be useful to have an easy web / moble based process to add grammar rules for everyone.

    • Thanks for dropping by Falk! I understand your need to play your cards close to your chest. I’m sure you’d want everyone to know how exactly your product works in due time. I’m just playing devil’s advocate for your potential end users. Good luck!

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