Electronics

Is the writing on the wall for the 16 million-color Cronzy pen?

The Cronzy pen is another stab at the unlimited color all-in-one pen
The Cronzy pen is another stab at the unlimited color all-in-one pen
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A look under the skin of the Cronzy pen
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A look under the skin of the Cronzy pen
The pen comes with five different nibs
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The pen comes with five different nibs
The Cronzy pen is another stab at the unlimited color all-in-one pen
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The Cronzy pen is another stab at the unlimited color all-in-one pen
There's a scanner at the top of the pen, allowing it to mimic real-life colors
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There's a scanner at the top of the pen, allowing it to mimic real-life colors
Cronzy is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo
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Cronzy is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo
LA-based Cronzy Inc. is looking to broaden the all-in-one pen palette to more than 16 million colors with its Cronzy pen
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LA-based Cronzy Inc. is looking to broaden the all-in-one pen palette to more than 16 million colors with its Cronzy pen
The pen mixes colors up near the tip
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The pen mixes colors up near the tip
Cronzy is claiming a seven-hour battery life on the pen
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Cronzy is claiming a seven-hour battery life on the pen
Using the scanner, users can mimic real-world colors
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Using the scanner, users can mimic real-world colors
The Cronzy scanner in action
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The Cronzy scanner in action

Back in elementary school, four-color ballpoint pens were once the height of versatility. Red, blue, black and green in the one package? Witchcraft! Then came 10-color pens, which increased the color options but proved more than a handful for most. Now LA-based Cronzy Inc. is looking to broaden the all-in-one pen palette to more than 16 million colors with its Cronzy pen.

The prospect of an infinite-color pen has been raised – or teased – before by a startup called Scribble. Launched back in 2014, the pen's Kickstarter campaign promised the ability to produce more than 100,000 individual shades. Having been removed from Kickstarter for not meeting pitch guidelines, the project was moved to (and subsequently removed from) Tilt. Currently, it's up for preorder on the Scribble website, but details about a delivery date are vague at best.

Cronzy, should it see the light of day, essentially promises to do the same thing as Scribble. Having hooked up with the companion app, users are able to use a Photoshop-style color selector to fine-tune the perfect hue and send it to the pen, which then replicates it in ink.

A look under the skin of the Cronzy pen
A look under the skin of the Cronzy pen

As simple as that sounds, it's not always possible to perfectly recreate a shade using a color wheel. That's where the built-in scanner comes into play. Instead of trying to loosely match an old swatch with its modern equivalent, users can copy it with a wave of their magic wand (okay, pen), just like the Scribble promised. Frequently used colors can be saved in the app, and there's also an option to share a particular hue.

The colors are created within the pen, which mixes ink from five individual wells (cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white) up near the tip. At the moment, the team is still fine-tuning the mixing process using a miniature motor. Having switched colors, Cronzy says scribbling a few lines is enough to clean out the nib, so there's no cross-pollination ruining the purity of each hue.

When the ink wells run dry, it's simply a matter of slotting in a new one. The team says each individual well will cost around US$2, and provide enough ink for around 500 meters (1,640 ft) of writing. However, that figure will change based on which of the five nibs is attached, and white ink will cost slightly more.

The Cronzy pen is another stab at the unlimited color all-in-one pen
The Cronzy pen is another stab at the unlimited color all-in-one pen

Recharging of the inbuilt Li-Po battery is handled by a dock, and battery life is pegged at around seven hours. In order to hold that battery and the ink wells, the pen is quite a bit larger than a regular ballpoint, measuring in at 170 mm (6.7 in) high and 13.5 mm (0.53 in) in diameter. At 95 g (3.35 oz) it's also heavier, but anyone who wants access to such a wide range of colors is likely to be willing to forgive its girth.

At the moment Cronzy is seeking funding on Indiegogo, where it's raised US$11,800 of its $200,000 goal with two months remaining. Early birds can pledge $139 for a package including a pen, case, five interchangeable tips and two sets of ink cartridges. If all goes as promised, the product is expected to ship between March and May 2017.

A prototype Cronzy pen can be seen in action below.

Source: Cronzy

3 comments
Nik
An alternative could be to apply the same technology to an air brush, which would have industrial uses.
sidmehta
Great idea, but tell us what it could be used for. What most people need are just black or blue pens. So this probably has some niche applications.
NoPC4me
Sorry but 16 million colors? No need...this thing will never sell!