video We talk to the student designer of the D:Scribe, a digital fountain pen that will convert your scribblings into text messages and e-mail.
Each year the Dyson Student Award -- a category of the Australian International Design Awards -- showcases a bunch of innovative concept products that could end up in your home one day. A competition held to promote design talent among uni students, the Award attracts entries from inventive tinkerers around Australia, who submit their creations to be judged by designers with a metric boatload of industry experience.
Finalists in the 2008 Award include such curious products as a bone conduction headset, collapsible surfboard and -- most intriguing for us -- the D:Scribe pen, which takes text you write by hand and sends it as an SMS, MMS or e-mail.
The D:Scribe is the brainchild of UNSW student Reuben Png, who created the pen with the aim of bringing the human touch back to digital communication. The elegant device is shaped like a fountain pen and has an optical sensor beneath its nib. After writing your witty message, you write the name of the person to send it to, then circle it to fire the text into the ether. Messages are sent via Bluetooth to a phone or computer.
There are a few digital pens already available out there, but the D:Scribe differs in two key ways. It does not require special paper in order to recognise text -- your average sheet of Reflex is enough to get things happening. The optical sensor is also positioned more centrally than that of the current crop.
The winners of the Australian International Design Awards will be announced on May 30.