Equil Smartpen 2: One digital pen to rule them all, turning ink and paper into digital files

Equil Smartpen 2
Sometimes nothing beats pen and paper when you’re looking to jot something down, map out ideas or sketch something creative. Thanks to the Equil Smartpen 2, lovers of the old-fashioned way of writing and drawing have a nifty bridge between the tangible and the digital: a high-tech pen that captures whatever you write or draw and turns it into a detailed digital file.

On one hand, the Equil Smartpen 2 is like a traditional ballpoint pen. You can pick it up and use it like any other pen on whatever kind of paper you already have.

Related: Can pen and paper survive in a world of touchscreens and tablets?

On the other hand, the “smartpen” is a whole different beast from the plain ballpoint pens you have lying around on your desk. For one thing, it comes with a special receiver, which you place atop the piece of paper you’re using. This small rectangle box uses ultrasound and infrared to accurately locate the Equil Smartpen 2’s position on the paper and use that information to duplicate the tangible note or sketch to your digital device’s screen. This along with the smartpen’s pressure-sensitive tip ensures that the digital note or sketch contains all the details of the tangible version.

The smartpen connects with your iOS, Mac, Android and Windows devices via Bluetooth, and allows you to share your written or drawn creations to iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter or email. Users can also export layered PSD files.

The Equil Smartpen 2 comes with two free apps: Equil Note (for handwriting), which is compatible with iOS, Mac OS, Android and Windows; and Equil Sketch (for drawing), which is compatible with iOS and Android.

Equil is running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the Equil Smartpen 2 and has already raised about $195,000, sprinting past its $50,000 goal. The campaign, which began on Sept. 8, will close on Oct. 8.

Related: Under pressure: How Pencil will become even more life-like in iOS 8

The Smartpen 2 will retail for $169.99, but contributors to the Indiegogo campaign can get it at a discounted price. Shipments will begin in October.

Of course, the Equil Smartpen 2 isn’t the only digital-pen game in town. There are a number of other options for people who are looking for digital pens and styluses.

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