Connected Objects
Rocketbook connected notebook erases scribbles in microwave, literally cooks your books

As popular as tablets have become, many people prefer the experience of writing on paper. After all, the medium is tough to beat when it comes to cost and ease of sharing. But of course it’s difficult to distribute electronically.

The Rocketbook notebook uses paper with an invisible array of markers (dots) to allow the transfer of handwritten text and drawings and transferring them from the notebook to a companion app. On the surface, it’s similar to Livescribe, another system that uses dot paper. However, there are some distances between the two products. While the Livescribe system requires its own pen that can include audio, the Rocketbook can work with any pen. Also, the Livescribe system can relay information to an iPad or the cloud in real time as you write.

In contrast, Rocketbook pages must be scanned by the book’s app at some point  via a camera-like interface during or after their creation. A series of seven icons, including things like an airplane and a fish, can be designated to route scanned documents to different folders and cloud services, but good old letters or numbers would be a welcome alternative.

Something that really sets the Rocketbook apart from the notebooks used by Livescribe, though, is that it can be erased if it has been used with a Pilot FriXion pen. The disappearing act occurs when the ink is exposed to heat. Just pop the notebook into the microwave for 30 seconds and the pages become blank again, just the way an Enron accountant would want them. Rocketbook seeks to raise $20,000 by April 3. The notebooks, which cost $45 for a pack of two, should ship in July.

Roocketbook represents a more affordable alternative to products such as Livescribe and the Equil Smartpen, 2 which does not use dot paper. Even if one cares little for its ability to save its pages to the cloud, the idea of an ever-renewable notebook has strong appeal to prolific scribblers. Having different sized Rocketbooks — in particular a smaller version — would broaden the product’s appeal by making it more portable and probably a bit cheaper.

Arthur Tufeau is a contributor to Backerjack.