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Grammar police: Vibrating pen warns of handwriting mistakes

A specialized pen under development is designed to catch writing mistakes and vibrate as a warning. Could it revive the dying art of handwriting?

Lernstift in development
It's smarter than the average pen.

My handwriting these days is atrocious thanks to all the hours I spend with a keyboard instead of pen and paper. I look at my grocery list when I'm out shopping and think, "Huh? What did I write there?" Perhaps I should invest in a Lernstift pen when it hits the market.

In case you couldn't tell by the name, the Lernstift is the creation of a German entrepreneur. Falk Wolsky's young son was learning how to write and making mistakes in the process. His wife Mandy suggested the idea of a pen that warns when you make a mistake. And so an invention was born.

The Lernstift will follow along as you write and vibrate when it detects spelling or grammatical errors. In calligraphy mode, it will vibrate if a letter is written wrong or illegibly. That's the mode I need to make my grocery lists readable.

The pen is very much in the middle of the design phase with the software still under development. The physical design of the pen is pretty well set. The first Lernstifts are expected to be available in the summer of this year, with versions planned in multiple languages.

One goal is for the pen to connect to computers, tablets, and smartphones. That opens up a lot of possibilities for apps that could help users refine their penmanship skills.

It seems like pens and pencils have been languishing in the shadows of their digital competition for some time. A pen like the Lernstift could bring some spice back to the realm of handwriting. I'm imagining some compelling game apps to go with it where you rack up a high score based on how lovely and legible your script is.

Much of the pen's momentum will hinge on a crowdfunding project schedule to launch in March. What do you think? Is this something you would want for your kid or yourself?

Lernstift mock-up with an app
Eventually, the Lernstift could hook up with apps. Lernstift