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Writing

Artist's impression of the MAVEN spacecraft (Image: NASA)

Haikus to Mars may sound like the title of a 1950s sci-fi B movie, but that’s what NASA is asking for. The space agency is inviting the public to submit haikus to be recorded on a DVD that will be carried by the unmanned Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch in November.  Read More

In the airwriting system, a sensor-equipped glove is used to identify letters drawn in the...

If you’re one of the many people who hate poking at the tiny virtual keys on smartphone keyboards, then you might like the experimental “airwriting” glove system created by a team of computer scientists at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. When the glove’s wearer draws letters in the air with their hand, the system can identify which letters are being drawn. Those letters are converted into digital text, which could then be input into an email, text message, or any other type of mobile app.  Read More

The 3doodler sketches with plastic, allowing you to create unique 3D artworks

WobbleWorks has developed a fun new way to express your artistic side – a pen which takes its inspiration from 3D printers. The 3Doodler sketches with the same plastic filament used in most personal 3D printers, allowing you to draw in the air or on paper to create wire-like artwork.  Read More

The Lernstift digital pen

Use digital technology long enough and you start to become dependent upon it for such mundane tasks as spell checking. That means when you pick up a garden variety ballpoint pen you’re back in dictionary and “I before E except after C” territory. Like LiveScribe, the creators of the Lernstift digital pen hope to bring handwriting into the 21st century by having the pen vibrate to indicate when the writer makes spelling and grammatical errors or exhibits poor penmanship.  Read More

Philip M. Parker has created a computerized system to automatically compile data into book...

Philip M. Parker, a marketing professor at INSEAD (the European Institute of Business Administration), has written and patented a system that uses an algorithm to automatically compile data into book form. Between his works and those of his research group (ICON Group International), he has over 900,000 books currently for sale on Amazon. More than a smart search engine, his system only requires a few minutes or a few hours to scan the databases relevant to any given topic and organize that data into a technical report. Next stop? Romance novels.  Read More

Arizona toolmaker Brian Fellhoelter is getting set to ramp up production of his TiBolt tit...

If you're on the lookout for the perfect accessory to complement your titanium computer mouse, bike and lock, or your special guitar, then how about a nice new pen? Brian Fellhoelter has been privately selling his hand-made titanium TiBolt pens – featuring a nifty bolt-action mechanism – for the past few years, but can no longer cope with the demand so is scaling up production.  Read More

Sprout is the name of a new brand of pencil which comes with a seed in the end – when the ...

We live in a throwaway society, where even large and expensive products are merely trashed when they reach the end of their life and/or usefulness. It's a rather sad state of affairs, with waste that could be recycled or reused extensively placed in the ground to rot ... or, in the case of non-biodegradable materials, not rot. It's against this rather depressing backdrop that one group of product designers have created Sprout, an ordinary, everyday pencil which hides a rather special trick up its sleeve.  Read More

New tech developed at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris enables people to write i...

Retaining the ability to communicate effectively can be one of the key challenges facing those who suffer a severe restriction in mobility. Conditions such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can reduce a persons capacity for voluntary movement to the eyes only, though even this is not always possible. When eye movement is possible however, it offers an opportunity for communication and expression, as previously highlighted by the Eyewriter project. New research conducted at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris may offer a further breakthrough in this area by enabling writing in cursive using only eye movements.  Read More

The UZI Tactical Defender Pen allows users to break glass, obtain DNA samples from attacke...

Looking for something to jot down a few lines of poetry as you sip camomile tea from your Battle Mug? While a Bic might do the trick, it would perhaps be more appropriate to use the UZI Tactical Defender Pen.  Read More

Cover for Luminous Airplines by Paul La Farge (Image: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge is a book that tries to answer the question of how to adapt the traditional paper and pasteboard book to the digital age. How do you take what is essentially a static collection of words and turn it into something open ended and interactive? How do you give it a new digital dimension? Mr. La Farge's answer is to turn his novel about a content manager returning to his boyhood home in the Catskills into an experiment in hypertexting or, as he prefers to call it, "immersive" text.  Read More

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