The rise of spell check has probably been a net-gain for humanity - despite the best-efforts of evil Auto-Correct filters.

But while near-ubiquitous spell check means your emails are more legible than ever - and ensure that you're less likely to misspell ubiquitous - when it comes to writing in ink, you're still pretty much on your own.

Until now. Two German fathers have invented the world's first fountain pen with built-in spell check.

The digital device watches what you write and emits a subtle vibration when it thinks you've made an error. Aimed at school children and teachers, the idea is to help bring the benefits of digital writing to traditional paper-and-ink - and to help stop the decline of cursive.


The inventors of Lernstift are looking for £120,000 in funding on Kickstarter to help bring the pen to the mass market. So far they've raised £16,000, and have about a month to go in their campaign. The team explains:

"Current digital pens use optical sensors to pick up the writing movements and digitalize the words or sketches for computer use. Some of them require external devices. Others only work with specialty paper.

Lernstift is different. It requires none of those. It's the first truly intelligent pen because all the tech and software is built-in. It can be used with apps but it doesn't depend on them."

The current prototype uses a Linux computer built into the casing of the pen, run off a single AAA battery. It contains a specially-designed motion sensor to help track the path of your writing, and accurately know when you've made a mistake - either in spelling, or the shape of your handwriting. It works in English and German. And unlike existing 'Smart Pens', like Anoto's Livescribe, it doesn't require special paper either. The next models will be smaller, more reliable and we hope built to withstand the frustrations of constantly harassed handwriting students.

If you're intrigued, head over to Kickstarter for more details on the pen and to read the full business plan for the device. A pledge of £99 will get you one of the pens when they eventually hit the production line.

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