We’ve seen plenty of companies try 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 digitize them. The accompanying app keeps your notes safe and can even decipher your handwriting, making your notes searchable as well. The pen itself writes on any paper, and can take notes in journals, notebooks, post-its…well, any paper, really.
We saw the pen in action and it works wonderfully well, capturing writing quickly and easily. Being able to search for “dinner” in the app and see the note reminding 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 designed the Nuwa Pen so that we only process the ink and do that processing on the 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.”
Refreshingly for a hardware startup, the Dutch company doesn’t sell its own cartridges, choosing instead to support industry-standard D1 ink cartridges. You can pick up four of them for $12, and they are readily available at most paper 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 typing time – after that it’s probably time for a 15-minute break anyway.
The Nuwa Pen app gives you access to your notes anytime. 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 hasn’t touched a pen other than signing 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 can go all digital with a ReMarkable 2 tablet and pen combo. Just $10 more gets you Amazon’s Kindle Scribe, which is a fully functional Kindle that you can write on with a stylus. In other words: The technology is amazing, but at this price point you have to type a lot (or be a big fan of being able to handwrite with a real pen over typing on a tablet) to really make sense.
The Nuwa Pen will be available in August 2023 for $279, or can be pre-ordered today for $179. The Nuwa will be available in Ebony (black) or Ivory (white).