Although thumb-typing on smartphones and stylus-scribbling on tablets have their place, sometimes nothing quite beats the satisfaction of writing in an actual paper notebook. The Rocketbook, currently scorching its way through an Indiegogo campaign, combines the satisfaction of a paper notebook with the backup power of the cloud. And if you use the right pen, then when you're done using it, you can stick it in the microwave to erase your notes and start all over again.
The concept for the Rocketbook incorporates a clever combination of old-school and new technology. Instead of making the notebook cumbersome with wires, batteries and a Wi-Fi antenna, the creators stuck with a spiral-bound 8 1/2 x 11-inch notebook. That's the old-school part.
The innovation comes with the row of icons you can black out at the bottom of each page. Want your sketches for the next great superhero comic to get loaded up to your Dropbox account? Simply fill in that icon. Need to back up those notes for that piece of "Harry Potter" fan fiction to Evernote? Fill in the icon.
There are seven icons in all and you can choose where they each save -- down to specific folders in specific applications. A blank legend at the front of the book gives you a place to keep track of how you assign the icons.
Then, you simply launch the Rocketbook app on your phone and hold it over each two-page spread of the notebook. The app automatically captures the pages and loads them to the places in the cloud you've designated. There's no need to click any capture button; the app does it thing automatically as you flip the pages.
But what happens when you fill an entire 100-page notebook? The creators of Rocketbook have a smart solution that ropes in third-party tech. If you use only Pilot FriXion pens, they say, you can throw the whole book in the microwave for 30 seconds and your scribbles will disappear, because the ink is heat-sensitive. The binding on the Rocketbook is made from microwave-friendly polypropylene so there won't be any sparks.
There are apparently a lot of people out there who miss writing in notebooks, as the campaign has raised over $180,000 with an initial goal of $20,000 -- and there are still 25 days left.
Although the early-bird Rocketbooks are gone, you can still get one for just $25 (about £17, AU$33), which includes the app and one FriXion pen. Rocketbooks are available to ship in the US for free and internationally for an extra $15 (about £10, AU$20). They are slated to be released in July for iOS devices and in August for Android devices.