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Phree - the World’s First Smartpen

Essay by   •  February 26, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  2,562 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,721 Views

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INTRODUCTION

Phree is the world’s first smartpen that lets you write, draw on practically any surface .It syncs the data in real time onto your portable device, computer, phone and even smart TV’s through the use of Bluetooth. It can connect to any device with a Bluetooth function. Phree’s usage doesn’t end with just taking notes or doodling. Phree comes packed with a wide range of other useful functionalities .It can be used as a wireless headset, display incoming text messages. All this without even having to take out your phone. It can also be used as a Bluetooth mouse for PC’s and laptops.

Technology: 3D Laser Interferometer

Phree works with technology called laser interferometer. The science behind interferometer is to measure small things with incredibly high accuracy by comparing light beams(Explainthatstuff.com, 2016).It works by blasting a laser beam onto the surface you placed the pen to write. It then monitors the interference between the laser beam and the reflections coming from the surface. Information is then processed by a set of algorithms that translates the data collected by the sensor in 3 dimensional. Phree understands user’s hand movements the same way as that of human eye. Phree is also pressure sensitive, so it knows when you’re applying pressure to make dark stroke (Gokey, 2015).

VALUE PROPOSITION

Input devices like smart pens have been around for a long time now. Even though it has made our lives simpler, there are still some issues that the smart pens need to overcome. The most prominent issues that smart pens could resolve in order to make the device more efficient are the use of screen area, responsiveness and ease of use.

As our devices get smaller, we are in need of input devices that use less of the already reduced surface. Phree aims to solve this problem by moving all the work off your devices screen to practically any surface. Phree does not require any additional device like a specialized notebook, white board or a pad. Users don’t have to worry about running out of specialized notebook or ink at the time of urgent need to make notes. Just the pen is enough to jot down your ideas without having to worry about extra baggage. Hence Phree isn’t confined to one material or surface, it can truly be used on the go.

The second issue that Phree aims to resolve is responsiveness. According to the creators of Phree, their patented high 2,000dpi resolution sensor technology allows it to accurately capture images from any surface no matter how small it is. They claim that by adding new algorithms to their 3D laser interferometer, they are bale to achieve this high degree of accuracy and detail. The accuracy of Phree could be an invaluable tool for artists/digital artists who could avoid carrying around a who don’t necessarily want to carry around a sketchbook or a dedicated digital pad at all times. Phree is also able to take in handwriting inputs in multiple languages. Users who would love the ability to quickly and easily switch back and forth between typing and handwriting will benefit from this feature.

The third is the ease of use. As mentioned earlier, Phree doesn’t require any external device to facilitate the input process. This enables user for freehand input. For example, if you are in a coffee shop and you need to quickly jot down your ideas, you don’t need a notebook and a pen, you cold use Phree to write on your coffee table and watch it synchronize with your phone in real time. This also reduces one extra step of you having to take a picture of your note. With Phree, it’s a one step process.

Additional features: Functionalities unique to Phree

Phree has a OLED touch display that is used for Bluetooth connection and for interaction with various applications. The display includes notification icons like messages and phone calls. When used with specific applications like note taking apps, it displays changes to show specific icons like pen, eraser and highlighter. When you receive text messages, you are able to reply to a text messages without even having to take out your phone. It can also be used as a Bluetooth headset and a Bluetooth mouse.

Phree comes with a rubberized cap that can be doubled as a stylus for touch screen devices. Phree facilitates wires charging. When you need to charge Phree, just place it in its case and place the case on top of a wireless charging pad. Its that easy.

Another feature to look out for is Phree’s cross platform capability. It works with Android, iOS, Windows, OSX, and Linux. It supports most third-party apps on Android, OSX, and Windows but the support on iOS is limited as of now. Since the operating system does not support any cursor function, Phree’s use is limited to note taking, Bluetooth headset and the display notifications. 

PRIOR ART ASSESSMENT

Even though the concept of laser interferometer technology is being utilized in an industrial scale, the 3D laser interferometer is the first of it kind being incorporated into a input device. The developers of Phree have created this technology and is now under a patent of OMI technology. The sensor’s high accuracy and ability to capture even the smallest detail makes it an ideal technology to be used in a digital pen. The key advantage of this laser technology is that the sensor continues to track the pen tip's movement even when it's lifted from the surface, thereby allowing the precise characteristics of your handwriting to be captured. There is no other technology in the world that can do this without some kind of external source (Kickstarter, 2016)

Whether you're a student or a professional sitting through an important business presentation, taking notes is a vigorous task for many people. The note taking process has evolved with technology to provide you with more control over how you access, share and edit your important information. Digital pens allow you to take notes where in ways laptops and tablets simply can't (TopTenREVIEWS, 2016). Moving past the stylus era, digital pen’s are the next big thing. There are a numerous digital pen’s that exist in the market today. But most of them still require some kind of external attachment associated to with in order to input data. We are comparing Phree with 2 big digital pens in the market, Livescribe smart Pen 3 and Equil smart pen 2. Table below gives a brief comparison between the 3 devices.

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