Ever had the feeling of wanting to take notes but not having a surface to do it on? The creators of Phree, a stylus that can record your scribblings on any writing surface using motion-sensing technology, feel your pain. Their solution allows you to "write" on any surface, interacting with the world more directly and practicing the endangered art of handwriting. Phree's crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter begins today.
The stylus's breakthrough characteristic is its use of a technology called Optical Translation Measurement, which tracks motion over a much wider range of surfaces and with a wider dynamic range than other kinds of motion sensing. It uses a compact 3D laser interferometer (a laser beam projected on the writing surface that creates reflection). A small processor then translates this information to X-Y-Z motion. This creates a crisp facsimile of one's handwriting on your device.
Phree can also lend a helping hand when you're away from your device thanks to a tiny integrated screen, which allows you to read text messages and then scrawl back replies. The screen can also change the pen to a highlighter, change the writing color, or even change from messaging to dialing. Handily, the Phree's case also doubles as a smartphone stand.
“We live in a world of screens that we’ve come to rely on for everything from our work to our personal lives, but often times our imaginations are confined by these same screens,” said Gilad Lederer, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of OTM Technologies, the creators of Phree. “Phree goes beyond the screen to help your imagination go digital, free of constraints.”
Though writing offscreen in some ways resembles older forms of interaction, such as a computer trackpad, it also brings back the advantage of being able to see your entire screen while writing—not a trivial perk if you're writing on an iPhone. And science is increasingly suggesting that writing by hand is good for remembering what you've written—a point to remember for students, or anyone who's traced a name on their thigh to remember it.
Phree is available now for pre-order on Kickstarter for the early-bird price of $129 and is compatible with all major platforms including Android, Windows and iOS via a Bluetooth Smart connection.