Toshiba's Encore 2 Write pen

Jan 06 2015

CES 2015: Brace Yourself for the Attack of the Pens

Several technology vendors showed off new pen-based technologies at this year’s CES.

While it’s true that Microsoft has been the tech vendor singing the praises of the mighty pen the loudest recently, other technology vendors have developed a similarly potent passion for pen tech.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, several tech vendors showed off new pen-based technologies. Some of them, like Microsoft’s Surface Pen, were companions to tablets or smartphones, but others were independent devices.

Lenovo announced that its new AnyPen technology would be rolling out with a refresh of its Yoga line of tablet and notebook devices. The neat thing about the AnyPen technology: You can literally use any pen with your Yoga Tablet 2.

“With Lenovo AnyPen Technology, any pen or pencil becomes a handwriting tool — no stylus needed. Consumers can pick their preferred tool and use it directly on the tablet’s touch screen for easy navigation instead of relying on their finger,” according to the company’s news release.

Toshiba unveiled its own set of tablets with pens at CES this year too, but the company brought along a major partner to help it develop its pens: Wacom. Toshiba’s line of writable tablets is called Encore 2 Write and the tablets are “the first Windows 8.1 tablets to feature latest-generation feel pen technologies by Wacom,” according to Toshiba’s news release.

“Whether you’re a compulsive scribbler, sketch artist or simply prefer handwriting notes in meetings, this tablet features technologies that make writing on screen feel more natural than ever. And because it’s a Windows tablet, it’s compatible with your favorite Office programs and apps, so you can get going right out of the box,” said Philip Osako, senior director of product marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division.

3Doodler, “the world’s first and best 3D-printing pen,” also made a splash at this year’s CES. The company showed off the second version of its 3D-printing pen at CES, and promptly launched a KickStarter to fund it. The company secured the $30,000 it was seeking in 16 minutes. This wasn’t the company’s first time using crowdfunding or KickStarter itself, since they’d used the platform to fund the first pen, but the demand for 2.0 version of the 3Doodler is definitely more intense this go-round.

So how does it work? Here’s a blurb on the pen’s functionality from the company’s KickStarter:

[T]he 3Doodler extrudes heated plastic that cools almost instantly into a solid, stable structure; and with no computers or software needed, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Simply plug your 3Doodler into a power socket and start drawing anything within minutes.

The company showed off some of the products created with the new 3Doodler 2.0, including 3D-printed fashion and a 3D-printed replica of Baby Groot from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie.

All of this pen action is sure to be welcome news for scribes and professionals (such as architects or project managers) who are looking to digitize current paper-and-pen based tasks.