Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Digital Pen Vibrates To Indicate Bad Spelling, Grammar and Penmanship

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the try-again dept.

Technology 144

Zothecula writes "Use digital technology long enough and you start to become dependent upon it for such mundane tasks as spell checking. That means when you pick up a garden variety ballpoint pen you're back in dictionary and 'I before E except after C' territory. The creators of the Lernstiftdigital pen hope to bring handwriting into the 21st century by having the pen vibrate to indicate when the writer makes spelling and grammatical errors or exhibits poor penmanship."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Wrong feedback (5, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year ago | (#42827993)

Wait, are they trying to discourage bad spelling and grammar, or encourage it?

Re:Wrong feedback (1)

2.7182 (819680) | about a year ago | (#42828051)

thy shoud makw a kwybd ta do tht

Re:Wrong feedback (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#42829039)

Wouldn't making the pen vibrate make your penmanship even worse?

Re:Wrong feedback (3, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#42829435)

Considering the lifelong state of my penmanship, I'd have CTS from the constant vibration of the pen. I don't even attempt cursive and my printing looks like a third grader's. Somehow, I just never got good at that.

Re:Wrong feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830311)

Keep your hand and wrist rigid and write with your arm.
You're welcome.

Re:Wrong feedback (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42830641)

I used to have good penmanship, but now? About the only time I use a pen is to write a check or sign a document. This tech is about twenty years too late.

Re:Wrong feedback (5, Funny)

mjjochen (638603) | about a year ago | (#42828129)

Depends on where/how you hold the pen. I tend to hold it with my critch, cratch, er cruth, crotch! Anyone gotta cigarette?

Re:Wrong feedback (2)

danomac (1032160) | about a year ago | (#42828141)

I was wondering if it would go back and autocorrect your work. It is strange to get a 'you are spelling this wrong' indicator but not have the proper spelling available. They need to put in a holographic projector in the pen and problem solved.

Re:Wrong feedback (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42828333)

Wait, are they trying to discourage bad spelling and grammar, or encourage it?

Neither, they're trying to sell you a pen.

Re:Wrong feedback (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#42828399)

Wait, are they trying to discourage bad spelling and grammar, or encourage it?

No Kidding. An electric shock would make so much more sense. You could increase the voltage every time the user repeated a mistake. They'd either learn to spell, give up on writing, or to be really twitchy when they write.

Re:Wrong feedback (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830077)

Yep. An electric char that shocked people every time they misused a possessive would do a lot more good than this.

(It's useless anyway because it only vibrates when it's too late and there's already an indelible mark on the paper).

Re:Wrong feedback (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830095)

"Chair", dammit.

(I meant to do that just to show how spelling checkers aren't magically going to make you write perfectly. No, really...)

Re:Wrong feedback (4, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#42828499)

As usual, the summary is click-baiting us a little bit.

The pen is only supposed to vibrate if a little kid/toddler presses too hard with it. In that context, that kind of instant feedback could make sense. One could put a blinking light on it when it's pressed too hard, but that little light would hardly stop a little kid from continuing to press too hard.

Re:Wrong feedback (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42829277)

This is like a 'back massager'.

It will go up the butts of the creators of the Lernstiftdigital pen and other grammarians.

I'm not sure that would help... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42827999)

It seems your penmanship is slipping. I am sure that vibrating will only improve it.

Poor penmanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828003)

Yes, a vibrating pen will surely help me with my poor penmanship.

Bad Penmanship? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828031)

So when your handwriting is bad... it makes it worse?

That is almost as stupid as suspending a student for skipping school.

Where was this all these years?! (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year ago | (#42828041)

For someone with atrocious spelling and grammar like me [wordpress.com], this would have been a godsend. Some part of me thinks this may be a genuine psychological problem since I've always had trouble with both, including handwriting. I know it in my head, but by the time it comes out on paper, it's almost complete gibberish. This would have helped so much!

Re:Where was this all these years?! (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year ago | (#42828219)

Sounds like my artistry. I can picture what I want to draw in my head, but it just doesn't turn out that way. In fact, the first line/curve I draw gets messed up, and it just gets worse with each passing second.

Re:Where was this all these years?! (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#42828733)

Your handwriting is bad but not utterly incomprehensible. Not a point of pride, I might add - you may as well be illiterate if you can't write. You should learn to write a clear hand of some sort when dealing with others. I have been known to resort to block print occasionally in order to ensure that anything I write is comprehensible to all.

Awful Idea (5, Funny)

archshark (1839686) | about a year ago | (#42828067)

Ok, lets say this somehow actually works... you spell something wrong, while writing with a PEN... now what?

Re:Awful Idea (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#42828145)

Ok, lets say this somehow actually works... you spell something wrong, while writing with a PEN... now what?

For that, we has got the optionel blowtorch accesary, to burn that peice of paper you was writting on.

Re:Awful Idea (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#42828309)

Ok, lets say this somehow actually works... you spell something wrong, while writing with a PEN... now what?

Damn, that was actually funnier than what I was thinking would happen if it did it to me. See, I'd throw the damn thing across the room and get a Pilot Precise back out and write for real. Boy would e. e. cummings [hellopoetry.com] HATE that thing! As someone that thinks negative feedback is the best teacher, this has got to be the lamest idea for teaching children (or adults) how to remember proper spelling and grammar. How is it any different than auto correct? Actually, I think it would be worse because it doesn't actually show you the correction. So, again it would be hurled at a wall in short order!

Re:Awful Idea (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42830721)

Boy would e. e. cummings HATE that thing!

That guy was a good poet, but unfortunately 1) poetry is not prose, although good prose is poetic; 2) In art, the rules are guidelines rather than laws, but when one breaks a convention one should have a good artistic reason; 3) a lot of young folks don't realize that and think "If cummings can do it, so can I; 4) He only wrote POETRY like that -- his prose used caps and all the other normal writing conventions. Here is some of his prose:

A locomotive cut the car in half, killing my father instantly. When two brakemen jumped from the halted train, they saw a woman standing â" dazed but erect â" beside a mangled machine; with blood spouting (as the older said to me) out of her head. One of her hands (the younger added) kept feeling her dress, as if trying to discover why it was wet. These men took my sixty-six year old mother by the arms and tried to lead her toward a nearby farmhouse; but she threw them off, strode straight to my father's body, and directed a group of scared spectators to cover him. When this had been done (and only then) she let them lead her away.

Just throwing paint on a canvas doesn't make you Jackson Pollack. Unless there's a valid reason, all lowercase is as ignorant as all caps.

Re:Awful Idea (0)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year ago | (#42830803)

>> you spell something wrong, while writing with a PEN... now what?

The Russians solved the same problem by sending their astronauts to space with a $0.10 pencil.

Great, a slashdot grammar troll... (3, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#42828155)

in my pocket, can't wait for that

Re:Great, a slashdot grammar troll... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42828659)

Great, a slashdot grammar troll in my pocket, can't wait for that...

You write with your cock?

Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828183)

If your handwriting is bad, your pen will vibrate, because trying to write with a pen that's vibrating is sure to help handwriting?

Good Vibes (1)

cosm (1072588) | about a year ago | (#42828197)

So that explains the subtle grammatical and spelling errors your mom kept yelling, such as: "your doin grate dont stop dont stop keap go-ing, o ya i luv it more then n e thing"

It's like third grade, all over again (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#42828203)

If the pen will punish me for bad penmanship it will just bring back bad memories of being taught (much against my will) how to write in cursive back in 3rd grade. Hell, I enjoyed memorizing multiplication tables but dreaded cursive writing tests. I still remember my teacher giving me extra pages of just the dreaded lower-cased letter "r".

If this pen takes a similar approach I would just take the batteries out and go back to typing messages.

Sensor accuracy (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year ago | (#42828233)

Since when were affordable motion sensors anywhere near accurate enough to track the movements of the end of a pen well enough to determine what was written? And if they are, why the hell are you using them for such a dumb idea? If the sensors really are that accurate, that means they're accurate enough to do complete finger tracking in three dimensions. Can you say VR interface glove? That's exactly what we need to go with an Oculus Rift. Sensors as accurate as these would have to be to do what they're claiming built into gloves, together with a Rift, would enable the world's best 3D modeling interface. Sculpt your model with your hands. This idea has been around since VR was first conceived. Are we finally getting there?

Improper use of apostrophe results in ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828249)

The pen emits a cloud of Zyklon-B !

Acchhh !!!!!


It iss the realization of my dream, how to rid the world of idiots.

How real is it? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#42828267)

There is a prototype, but the first generation is expected mid 2013. What is the prototype really able to do?

vroom vroom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828281)

Next up on slashdot :

"New grammar pen promotes bad grammar in underage schoolgirls"

I'll pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828301)

For the most part I know how to spell and write grammatically correct sentences.

When spell check recently tried to correct pommes frites into pommel trite I came within a millimeter of turning it off for good on every one of my devices.

A great security tool. (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year ago | (#42828331)

Set the damn thing to understand the writing patterns of a person and they can use it for a key. Wire it up if it's not you, barbs snap out and into your hand locking it to you and an amazingly powerful internal stun gun mechanism lights you up like a pinball machine. Also, if they can do that then they can set one up for espionage. Give one to your wife and see what she writes with it, when she uses it.

I see acres of applications for something like this and helping school kiddies being just one.

Penmanship (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#42828343)

Penmanship? who can really defend good penmanship, some of the most educated people have the worst legible writing imaginable. How neat you write has nothing to do with the quality of the information. As for bad grammar and spelling I'm so pro for this pen it's insane. Growing up having a learning disability which makes it hard to spell and really hard to use grammar correctly, I can totally see the need for this. ( Of course on a side note any one who needs the grammar to read doesn't really know how to read in the first place, I can read books with out even needing to see or read a single grammar note )

Re:Penmanship (1)

Visserau (2433592) | about a year ago | (#42829823)

Reading teaches you grammar far moreso than vice versa (so I guess I agree with you). I never learnt (m)any grammar rules BECAUSE of reading. I started with adult books at a young age and consequently didn't pay a shred of attention in english classes. I'm far from perfect but I'd like to think I can outdo your average Joe for the most part.

Re:Penmanship (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42830621)

The problem is we often have a quite large conceptual gap between what we say and what we think we say... and more often than not we write what we think we say, not what we say....

Re:Penmanship (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#42830791)

I agree with you, when I read my brain puts in all the required puncuation for me before I even notice it. So in fact grammar to me, even growing up never played a big / any role. Now granted not everyone can work like I do but on some level you have to admit that your brain can put the facts together and in the end you don't really need to see things like commas, periods, question marks and etc...

What is this pen and paper that you write of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828345)

Writing on paper with a pen? Why not a quill and parchment or papyrus? Or clay tablets and a stylus?

I have a smart phone with apps that I can speak to. Writing with a pen and paper? How droll. And how very 20th century.

Angry pen (0)

ztexas (1351217) | about a year ago | (#42828349)

A shock would be better. Negative reinforcement. Think doggie training collar.

Re:Angry pen (0)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42830749)

Where are the moderators? This is the third time I've seen this exact comment in this thread. It isn't exactly a unique nor profound thought.

Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Vibrates to indicate poor penmanship? (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#42828373)

Not only will it indicate poor penmanship, but it will exacerbate it as well! I guess it couldn't make my handwriting any worse.

Slashdot Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828379)

Maybe we could all chip in and buy one if these for the slashdot editors?

"and Penmanship" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828405)

well, it's gonna be vibrating the whole time.

What useing this to make ups and store pads work (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42828417)

What useing this to make ups and store pads work a lot better then they do now.

So it's a dildo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828433)

Look, for some of us it's going to be vibrating all the damn time. Might as well use a vibrating dildo with a pen strapped to it. Much cheaper.

What's a pen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42828545)

Cn u txt w it?

If I were 6 and having to use this (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about a year ago | (#42828579)

I'd pretty quickly throw it across the classroom at the wall. Kids are moving away from cursive handwriting and only printing. How long before we don't write much of anything ever? I don't know about you, but lost the ability to use a quill and ink well.

Re:If I were 6 and having to use this (3, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#42829091)

I can speak from experience as one who teaches on the university level: an increasing number of students already cannot write by hand. When they ask me at the beginning of the semester whether they can use laptops to take notes, I allow them with a caution. Since departmental standards require that they complete a written final, I encourage them to use note-taking as an opportunity to practice penmanship (more importantly it also helps them to learn how to think and summarize rather than attempting to take down a transcript of a lecture they won't read later). For so many, the only time they write is when they sit down for a final in which case, being out of practice, the speed of writing inhibits them from being able to write a complete essay response. After two hours, many turn in 3-4 pages (in a half letter sized blue book) of either illegible scrawl or blocky letters that clearly attempt to replicate print. That they did not receive instruction earlier in life on quick, efficient, and legible handwriting was a disservice to them.

You're quite right that we're moving away from handwriting, but we're not there yet. It remains a useful skill and offers a slight but real advantage over the run-of-the-mill, utilitarian job training one often receives in schools today.

Incidentally, I think the batteries must be dead in your vibrating keyboard. I read your sig and the spelling is a mess.

Re:If I were 6 and having to use this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829655)

I'm surprised it's still like this to some degree. I was in law school from 94-97 and was one of the very first people to use a laptop for note taking (a 486sx20 with 32 shades of gray or some wildly good specs like that). Anyway, the state I live in had (I think still has) a 100% essay bar. The thing is though, at that time you could use a typewriter providing it had no more memory ability than a single line (for backspace and such) and you were required to keep spellcheck off. The pass rate of those who typed the bar was very high (although that could be due to the types of people who chose to type, or it could be due to the typing -- either way I wasn't taking any chances).

So during law school I took notes with a computer and typed all my exams (typing was optional and typers were segregated in their own room so as not to disturb writers (same at the bar too)). My keyboarding rocked when I graduated. I typed the bar, I even took two typewriters with me in case one failed (and one actually did), and passed first time. I truly believe that typing everything helped me out a lot because it made the mechanical act of transferring ideas to paper effortless, at least in comparison to using a pencil and paper.

That was all more than a decade and half ago (almost two if you count back to '94). I would have thought we'd be over this hand writing in blue books thing by now. Typing exams is the best way to go -- the product is legible, the speed is vastly superior to handwriting, and in most of the real world, if it won't fit on a post-it note you're going to type it out. 99% of what I write is on a computer and every penmanship class I had to suffer through, every hand written test I did poorly on because my hand was getting tired, every teacher who forced me to write in cursive, just held me back or wasted my time.

Considering how writing is actually done these days, maybe you should allow your students to type exams and test them on their knowledge, not on their skill at pushing a pen around. If you balk at that idea, ask yourself this: would you require your students to shoot some hoops before each test, penalizing them 10 points for each miss -- say three shots so the max they could get would be a 70% if they suck at basketball? Penmanship is a mere physical skill just like throwing a ball, but poor penmanship can cause poor grades not because the ideas are bad, but because they aren't legible or the handwriting looks childish. Requiring tests to be written by hand, at least in the modern world, is an artificial PE type impediment and that only makes sense if you are teaching PE. If you are teaching anything else at all, at least give the notion that students should be able to type exams some consideration.

Re:If I were 6 and having to use this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830723)

That's a joke, right? What are people who can't write by hand doing in any university? What's wrong with these people?

Re:If I were 6 and having to use this (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42830821)

I love people like you, I'm 60 and you make me think I should get off your lawn. I wish laptops had existed when I was in college; I can type faster than I could ever write longhand, but even then, rather than taking notes I'd just record the lecture with the laptop. Actually, that's what I did, only I used a cassette recorder.

That they did not receive instruction earlier in life on quick, efficient, and legible handwriting was a disservice to them.

That's an assumption on your part, and a bad one at that. When I was in school, computers were multimillion dollar building sized-pocket calculators, and they taught penmanship in grade school. But by the time I was in college my handwriting was terrible, mostly from taking notes in class during high school. The essays are timed and you expect good penmanship?? That's insane!

You're quite right that we're moving away from handwriting, but we're not there yet.

Thanks to people like you!

Incidentally, I think the batteries must be dead in your vibrating keyboard. I read your sig and the spelling is a mess.

Woosh to you, ma'am.

Re:If I were 6 and having to use this (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42829161)

I had to re-train myself when starting to go to university, because cursive is just plain unusable for any real work. It is slow, leads to cramps, takes too much space, is unreadable when you have to be fast, scales badly, is hard to read even if done well, etc. It had some justification when people had lots of time and writing was a valuable skill by itself and looks were more important than usability. Not so anymore, best abolish it completely as a fundamentally broken aberration.

I also dropped using a fountain pen as soon as we were allowed to and switched to a modern ink-roller. Good work requires good tools, not some trash that that is completely obsolete and was invented to be used in vastly different circumstances in the first place. Teaching cursive to kids is just malicious.

Re:If I were 6 and having to use this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830737)

I never write cursive, just print. With a mechanical pencil (Rotring 600) and use an eraser to correct mistakes. It 'just works'. It's old-skool.

Cheaper alternative (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#42828653)

I have a pen which indicates when it is being used to write with poor penmanship or to write spelling and grammatical errors. It indicates this by not vibrating, flashing, or making any noise whatsoever. They're cheap as dirt, too -- less than 10 cents a pen. [amazon.com] And I've never had one fail to indicate a problem, nor indicate a problem where none exists.

the new body massager? (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#42829029)

Yeah right. First it was the "body massager", now it's the "vibrating pen". Nice try.

But if they are really serious, they are a bit behind the times: how often do people write with a pen anymore? The only time I use a pen (sharpie, actually) is to mark where to cut the 2x4.

just use another technology (2)

retchdog (1319261) | about a year ago | (#42829107)

i'm skeptical about the spelling and grammar checker, but as for the pressure...

pens have already been developed which don't require noticeable pressure in the first place [wikipedia.org].

there are even some [amazon.com] for [jetpens.com] children [amazon.com].

aren't they messy? not if you use cartridges. also, blue fountain pen ink is usually easily washable, unless you specifically get a variety which isn't.

won't the dumb kid lose his $20 fountain pen? well, i guess this might be a problem (although somehow we managed before), but i'm sure this accelerometer/vibrator pen would cost a lot more anyway.

the ergonomics are another advantage. making the pen easier to hold can only improve handwriting.

Better design: Make it explode! (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42829125)

Then the perpetrator of bad penmanship cannot commit any more of that horrible, horrible crime!

Side note: I nominate that for "most stupid idea of the week".

Lead acid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829229)

Based on the amount of time it would be vibrating, I'd say it would need a pretty big battery.

I have a better idea (1)

ArtemaOne (1300025) | about a year ago | (#42829357)

My pen will carve the incorrectly spelled word into the back of your hand. Submitting a patent now, and will sue Rowling ASAP.

EN-US / EN-UK Dictionary (2)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about a year ago | (#42829793)

I hope is has a better dictionary selection and retention than Word. Being constantly reprimanded by squiggly red lines that I the software thinks that I should use -ize on words that should be -ise is enough to make me gouge out my eyes with a vibrating pen.

Re:EN-US / EN-UK Dictionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830427)

In Word, language is a character level property like bold or italic. Ensure that all your templates (including normal.dot) are in en-gb. This doesn't help with documents received from colleagues, so write a macro to convert the current document to en-gb. You can attach the macro to a hotkey or button, or use AutoOpen to run it every time you open a document.

Vibratior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829831)

Hey dude, making the pen vibrate will not help my poor penmanship!

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829863)

Is that bad grammar in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

mandatory.. (1)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#42829989)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these... no .. no wait.. i got this ... In soviet Russia digital pen ... der.. ... ah fudge ...

A vibrating pen is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829991)


Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830113)

Now everyone will think I'm writing with a dildo

Ineffective (1)

Bad_Feeling (652942) | about a year ago | (#42830547)

What they should do is design a pen that delivers an electrical shock to the user every time a word is misspelled.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account