Lernstift is a digital pen running Linux that aims at helping children learning how to write by vibrating when they’ve made calligraphy or orthography errors. I’ve covered the overall concept in an earlier post, which you can read for details. The company has made some progress, and they have just launched a kickstarter campaign where you can pledge 99 GBP (about $150) to receive the pen later this year or in early 2014.
We do know a little more technical details. The first prototype was based on Gumstix Overo (TI OMAP3 or Sitara), but they are now working to design a custom board based on the platform for the final design. The pen comes with 128 MB RAM and runs embedded Linux. In order to gather handwriting data, Lernstift leverages a motion sensor that combines gyroscope with accelerometer, and adds a magnetometer. They’ve got a drawing with Freescale MMA9950L, but it’s not quite sure whether they’re using this chip or not. The sensor and third party handwriting recognition used allow them to minimize errors to a degree of 1 mm per word, which is said to work perfectly for handwriting recognition. The pen also features a built-in WiFi module allowing connection to PCs, smartphones and other Lernstift pens.
Initially, they’ll only support English and German, but other languages such as French, Spanish, Russian or Italian will be added overtime. But they also provide Android or iOS API so that the product can also be enhanced by third parties applications.
The company will need the equivalent of 600,000 Euros to get manufacturing started. They’ve also managed to get funds from their DIY crowdfunding and private investors, and now they’d need 120,000 GBP more via Kickstarter. Beside the 99 GBP pledge, there’s an early bird pledge at 89 GBP, as well as other package for classroom for example. Lernstift backers can expect the device by Q4 2013 and Q1 2014.