With touchscreens and keyboards never far from our fingertips these days, paper notebooks might not be as essential as they once were. But there's still something pleasant, if not always convenient, about putting pen to paper. The latest book to join a growing library of digitally inspired writing platforms is Rocketbook, and it does so with an interesting twist. In addition to shooting handwritten notes and doodles to the cloud, when it fills up users can stick the book in the microwave to wipe its pages clean.
Recent devices that serve a similar purpose to the Rocketbook include the Livescribe notebook from stationary stalwart Moleskine, along with the Equil Smartmarker and Smart Kapp, which are both designed to digitize and share content written on whiteboards.
Joe Lemay, the Rocketbook's creator, is looking to hit that sweet spot between technologies new and practical and old and cherished, with a cleverly designed A4, 8.5 x 11 in (210 x 297 mm) notebook. And if the crowdfunding campaign he is running is anything to go by, he is pretty well on target, having amassed almost US$300,000 in pledges at the time of writing, dwarfing his original goal of $20,000.
At the bottom of each of the Rocketbook's pages is a set of seven icons, what the company calls magic buttons. Each button can be assigned to a location in the cloud, meaning that all your scribbles on that particular page will be sent directly to wherever you'd like them to go. Need those lecture notes compiled neatly in your university Evernote folder? Or perhaps that inspired series of illustrations sent to Dropbox? Then just mark the relevant magic button.
The digitization process works a little differently from the products mentioned above. While the Moleskin Livescribe notebook relies on a special dotted pattern to digitally track the pen's movements in real-time, Rocketbook does so after the fact. When you are finished writing, you fire up the Rocketbook smartphone app (iOS and Android) and hold it above each double page spread. The app then scans and processes each page and directs them to their locations as indicated by the magic buttons.
Though you can write in the Rocketbook with any old pen, wielding Pilot's FriXion pens brings on another level of functionality. The ink inside these pens responds to heat by turning invisible, and because the Rocketbook is designed to be microwave-safe, nuking it for 30 seconds will erase all of its contents.
Over at Lemay's Indiegogo page, a pledge of $25 will put you in line for a 50-sheet Rocketbook and a single black Pilot FriXion pen. If all goes to plan, he hopes to start shipping his microwaveable notebooks in July 2015.
You can check out the Rocketbook pitch video below.