Clever functionality and clever online marketing from Pilot

Pilot handwriting test

Spotted this very clever piece of marketing by Pilot pens on Twitter this morning and had to give it a try.

The essence to Pilot Handwriting is that you print off a template and fill it in with your own handwriting.

Then, using your webcam (or scanner if you possess such a thing), the template is scanned and turned into your very own personalised font – it acts as a sort of glorified OCR.

You can then send messages to whoever you wish, written in your own handwriting.

I used the webcam and it turned out OK, although I had to make a few edits (which you are cleverly allowed to do) to some of the characters. 

By and large, though, it works incredibly well and the results are pretty impressive.

This marketing gimmick reminded me, though, of all the major effort that many companies put in to try and make commercially-viable accurate handwriting recognition software and hardware in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Even now, although most PDAs offer handwriting recognition, it’s usually nowhere near as fast as typing and not as accurate either – idiosyncrasies make writing very difficult to recognise.

I may well use this a couple of times, just for fun, but I think we all accept that typing does the job well enough and, well, if you want to write a letter, pick up your own pen (Pilot or otherwise) and use snail mail instead.

More creative fun on my Posterous

More web fun on my Posterous

Posted via email from Rob’s stream of web

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