Lernstift is a pen which vibrates when you spell the word incorrectly. However, it could also be capable of spawning its own App ecosystem. After launching on Kickstarter recently, it’s picking up speed towards its modest $183,000 goal to go into full production.
Created by Munich-based entrepreneurs Daniel Kaesmacher and Falk Wolsky, Lernstift uses handwriting recognition software to point out errors as you make them. And as any educator will tell you, because it supports handwriting, that in turn helps with cognition and memory – something of a lost skill in an environment of touch screens and typing. The project was inspired after the wife of one of the founders wondered out loud why their son couldn’t have a pen which pointed out his errors automatically.
The pen recognizes the characters and words and compares them to its dictionary database. As you write, the Lernstift pen “reads” the words. Get something wrong and the pen vibrates. The algorithm can tell you wrote Pollice instead of Police or respond with a red flag when the written word simply does not exist in the database (e.g. “poleez”). So far it can’t yet predict what the writer might want to write, but that could come down the line.
The computer inside Lernstift is an embedded Linux system. The board contains motion sensor, processor, memory, Wi-Fi and vibration module.
Interestingly the startup plans to provide an open API, so developers could eventually create Apps around the digital pens, using the sensor and handwriting recognition data that will be provided in real-time via WiFi.
For instance – you could create an app so that Parents could check on their kids’ learning success with a Lernstift statistics app. Two (or more) Lernstift users could work together in a single document using a co-writing app. Kids could could play learning games together or send their grandparents handwritten postcards through the Internet. It could even enable real-time monitoring of school work in an education setting.
Lernstift has previously won the business incubator pitch at WAYRA in Germany.