We’ve seen a lot of companies trying to turn the humble pen into something a little more digital, but few have been as elegantly successful as Nuwa. The company showed off its smart pen at CES in Las Vegas this week.
The smart pen uses three integrated cameras, along with motion and pressure-sensing electronics to take your ink scribbles, and digitizes them. The accompanying app keeps your notes safe, and it even manages to decipher your handwriting, making the notes searchable as well. The pen itself writes on any paper, and can keep notes in journals, notebooks, post-its… well, any paper, really.
We saw the pen in action, and it works fantastically well, capturing writing with speed and ease. Being able to search for “dinner” in the app and see the note where you reminded yourself where and when you’re eating this evening felt a lot like magic.
“Handwriting represents a deeply personal form of thinking, so it was important that we design Nuwa Pen so that we only process the ink and do that processing on-device,” says Marc Tuinier, one of the company’s co-founders. “Our end-to-end encryption solution for digital handwriting ensures that your thoughts are safe and secure the moment you start writing.”
Refreshing for a hardware startup, the Dutch compay isn’t selling its own cartridges, instead opting to support industry-standard D1 ink cartridges. You can pick up four of them for $12, and they are readily available in most stationery stores and online.
The pen comes with a case that charges the pen in 15 minutes. A full battery gives you about two hours of active writing time – after which it’s probably time for a 15-minute break anyway.
The Nuwa Pen app gives you access to your notes at any time. If you want your handwritten notes converted to typed text, the company offers Nuwa Pen+, €2,99 per month subscription.
As someone who is perma-glued to my phone and haven’t touched a pen other than to sign things in a very long time, I can’t really see myself using this. The price point is also interesting; for $280 you can buy the Nuwa pen, or you could go fully digital with a ReMarkable 2 tablet and pen combo. Just $10 more gets you Amazon’s Kindle Scribe, which is a fully functioning kindle you can write on with a stylus. In other words: The tech is awesome, but at this price point you’d have to do a lot of writing (or be a huge fan of being able to hand-write with a real pen over writing on a tablet) for it to truly make sense.
The Nuwa Pen will be available in August 2023 for $279, or can be pre-ordered today for $179. Nuwa will be available in Ebony (black) or Ivory (white).