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Educational Pen: Lernstift

Lernstift is a system that uses a pen outfitted with WiFi connectivity in combination with motion sensors, a vibration module and a developers API to help users become better writers and create a new set of learning feedback loops.

Created by Falk Wolsky and Daniel Kaesmacher out of Munich the device is initially targeted at students working on improving their spelling and handwriting skills. At a basic level the pen acts as a bridge between traditional handwriting and digital technology by using its vibration capabilities to gently alert a student to a spelling mistake (cross checked to a web database) or give them haptic feedback if their legibility is suffering compared to a users stored baseline data. 

On the hardware front the pen operates on embedded Linux system and suite of sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer) to optimize the systems motion recognition. To initially calibrate the pen a user simply jots down a few sentences in standard and cursive writing and a user handwriting profile is created using Vision Objects text recognition software.

In the long run the team wants to use the pens WiFi connectivity to increase the pens value and applications. Some of the scenarios laid out by the Lernstift team include giving students the ability to collaborate on the same document, providing parents an option to check in on kids progress over time, or enable a child to send their grandparents a handwritten drawing or thank-you note.

We're already in contact with education officials who are interested in integrating Lernstift in their curriculum and planning to develop school-based software that works with beamers and tablets or as an alternative to expensive digital whiteboards. This would, for instance, allow teachers to see, in real time, what their students are writing, and to respond instantly. Individual results can be shown and discussed (anonymously, if desired) with the whole class to make the learning experience more engaging.

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More details about Lernstift can be found at: Lernstift.com/index_en.html or by watching the team's product pitch video embedded below.

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