Dutch startup Nuwa claims to have invented the “world’s most advanced pen” that digitises notes written by hand.
Nuwa plans to launch the device this March. The Groningen-based company today announced a fresh cash injection of €1.5mn to boost the development of the product, which uses an inbuilt camera system, motion sensors, and algorithms to capture text written on paper.
“Just write, and Nuwa Pen digitises,” Marc Tuinier, Nuwa’s CEO, told TNW.
All the notes are then stored on the startup’s app. They can then be organised, shared, and integrated with other apps.
A particularly intriguing feature is Augmented Notes, which extracts rich text items such as dates, to-dos, and phone numbers from the notes. Users can then synchronise the data with, for instance, their calendar, to-do app, or phonebook.
The feature is integrated with over 50 apps, including Google Drive, Trello, and Evernote. Nuwa compares it to a personal assistant that puts you on top of your schedule.
Nuwa is targeting the product at people who still enjoy writing with a pen and pad.
While many rival smartpens only work on screens or digital writing systems, Nuwa promises compatibility with every type of paper. The product also uses regular ink cartridges.
“Neo, Livescribe, and Moleskine use special dotted paper to recognise what the user is writing, so you’ll also be stuck buying their paper,” Tuinier said. “Nuwa Pen can be used on any paper.”
A key component of the Nuwa system is miniaturisation. The gadget weighs just 28 grams — about as much as a single AA battery — but provides enough power for two hours of continuous writing.
To digitise the text, the system uses three tiny cameras with 2mm x 2mm sensors. All the data is then processed directly on the device.
“Capturing handwriting from these sensors in the pen itself, while a pen is constantly moving, is an extremely difficult task to get right — and we’ve done it,” Tuinier said.
As for the new funding, the source remains somewhat mysterious. Nuwa would only reveal that the investor is a publicly-traded US consumer goods company that’s “interested in exploring digital applications to solve the unmet needs” of customers.
By merging the trusty old ballpoint pen with the digital world, Nuwa hopes that it can solve one of those needs. The device is now available for pre-order.