This smart pen transfers handwritten notes to your phone in real time

The benefits of writing by hand keep many people coming back to a good notebook and pen over even the sweetest, fastest laptop. Writing by hand is supposed to offer higher memory retention, increased attention span, and keep you mentally sharp as you age. The downside: a pile of notebooks you have to search through to find a particular line or drawing is infinitely less convenient than files saved on a hard drive. No surprise, then, that there are smart solutions designed to transfer your writing to a file you can save. One of the latest is the Stylograph, now up on Kickstarter, a pen that can turn your doodles into digital files and save them in real time.

Much like Livescribe’s Smartpen 3, the Stylograph pulls off this trick with a 120-frame-per-second micro camera to capture the extreme details of handwriting. Its 0.46-inch diameter waterproofed copper casing is wide enough to house the camera, plus a dual-core ARM processor to handle the images, Nand flash memory for 1,000 pages, and the lithium polymer battery powering all of it. A Bluetooth LE 4.0 module lets the smart pen talk to your phone without draining energy too quickly.

In the Stylograph app, you can see your note as you write it. When it’s finished, you can export it in PDF, PNG, or SVG format; send it as an email; sync with online storage; or archive it. The app can even transcribe your notes into digital characters for word processing. It will start with German, French, and English initially, with other languages to come later.

The pen itself is a Japanese black ballpoint, replaceable with any D1 size refill. The notebook is the other unique component. There’s a micropattern on the paper. Even though it looks standard, the Stylograph will only work with the dedicated paper. The first 190 page 8.3-inch-by-5.8-inch notebook is included in your pledge, with additional ones available for $30.

The super early birds of a Stylograph went for a whopping $300. For $400, you get the smart pen plus the notebook and two notebook refills. Oree Artisans, the creators of the Stylograph, asked for a modest $15,000, and the campaign has already nearly doubled its goal. The early birds of the new pens are set to ship in December of this year, with a second round of delivery in January. You can check out the campaign here.

If you’re really keen to get writing, Lvescribe’s Smartpen 3 features similar specs and capabilities, but it’s available to buy now. It is also a ballpoint pen that connects via Bluetooth to smartphones and tablets, captures notes live, and works with special paper. Livescribe sells a few bundles — one of which you can snag for $150 and includes a 50-page notebook along with the pen. The special paper also comes more cheaply, with notebooks selling for as little as $9. Of course, the compatible Moleskein notebooks are a bit more pricey at $30. You can check out the paper here and the Smartpen 3 here.

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