Imagine if you will, a smartpen. No, we’ve already seen a bunch of those. A smartpen that lets you scribble anywhere. On walls, bed sheets, tables, glasses, your neighbour’s cat, wrists, virtually anywhere you like. It doesn’t need any ink, either. That’s because it doesn’t leave any footprint on the surfaces it writes on. Instead, it captures what you’re writing and displays that on a digital device. It’s called Phree.


Over on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Phree shares its story. Its creators say that they wanted to make a device that could let people write, doodle, sketch on any surface — and not have to look for a notebook or a special kind of paper (as used by rival Livescribe’s smartpen). But that’s only half of the package. Phree also lets you monitor your phone’s notification on its integrated small screen, and even respond to them from the pen itself by writing them down on any surface. You can also attend calls with it.

Phree is comfortable to hold too, with a slight resemblance to the Pencil by Three. There are plenty of things put together to make this happen. The company says that it developed world’s smallest laser interferometer and placed it into the tip of their pen. The laser detects what you’re writing on a surface.

Phree then beams this information to supported devices over Bluetooth. The company assures that it supports all popular note-taking apps including Evernote and OneNote. Phree can also be used as a pointing device to your paired PC, tablet, or phone. The company is using the device’s sophisticated handwriting recognition technology as a biometric security measure, wherein the device doesn’t work if an unauthorized person tries to use it.

As you would expect, Phree is already a hit among users and has been successfully funded. Of the original $100,000 goal, the company has managed to glean support from about 1,900 people contributing over $340,000. Early birds will get the device for $148, while others will have to pay a bit more. You can still commit $316 and get 2 Phrees when the company starts shipping it, which is in April 2016.

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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.