Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Robot Creates Handrwritten Notes for People

Hmmmm.... Digital keyboarding eliminates the need for handwriting, but robots retrieve and improve this very human form of communication and expression....

"Meet Bond, the Robot That Creates Handwritten Notes for You"

"...With all the email, texts, tweets, and status updates of modern life, people have never been more prolific writers. Yet penmanship is at a nadir because we do so much of this writing on a device, often with our thumbs. Oddly, it could be a device—a robot, more specifically—called Bond that saves the humble art of handwriting.

Bond combines the best bits of MakerBot 3-D printers and Montblanc pens. Using the Bond app, you can compose a thank you note, holiday card, or any other type of correspondence, choose slick stationary, and specify a recipient. A robot writes out your message with a real pen in your choice of handwriting (or a facsimile of your own if you’re willing to pay for it), tucks into into an envelope sealed with wax, and sends it off to the post office. Prices start at $2.99 plus postage and Bond ties into customer relationship management software like Salesforce, allowing companies to provide a personal touch at scale.

Bond was conceived as an “Uber for gifts” in 2013 and its twist on e-commerce was each carefully curated bauble had to be accompanied by a handwritten note. The business generated $200,000 in its first 90 days of operation, but the most positive feedback was focused on the custom communiqu├ęs.
Frustrated the by the challenges of managing gift inventory and invigorated by the interest in the handwritten cards, Bond founder Sonny Caberwal changed course. “We made a strategic decision to focus on building handwritten note technology, because it was most core to our goal of helping people articulate the appreciation of their relationship.”

Written Like a Human, Not Like a Bot

Originally, Bond used mid-century autopen technology to craft the letters, but such systems weren’t flexible enough to meet Bond’s needs at scale. In order to mass produce personalized notes, Caberwal assembled a team of roboticists, software engineers, and typographers. “We pair our engineering efforts with our own team of handwriting experts, all of whom have advanced degrees in type design,” says Caberwal. “The design-focused handwriting team overlaps with hardware and software engineering and operations in a very unique way, to inform software design, hardware design, hardware maintenance, and operational execution.”...

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