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Crowdfunded Cronzy Pen lets you draw in 16 million colors

Do you remember those giant multicolor ballpoint pens from your youth? Everyone probably used one at some point, but there’s a new crowdfunding project seeking to make a grown up version of it. The Cronzy Pen promises to write in more than 16 million colors instead of the lousy 10 colors you get with the more primitive version.

This device is currently being funded on Indiegogo, which in all honesty makes me skeptical from the start. The idea is that you’ll use a color scanner on the top of the pen to scan a real world object, then the pen uses internal ink cartridges to make that color so you can write with it. It’s a little like an inkjet printer in pen form (and you’ll have to replace the cartridges like a printer too). The campaign video does make it look pretty impressive.

There will also be an app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone (wow, really?) that lets you track the colors you collect, manually change the pen color, and add new colors via a slider or with color codes. Presumably this happens over Bluetooth.

This is all very ambitious and interesting, but is it feasible? My initial skepticism is tempered somewhat by this prototype demo video, which shows an early version of the Cronzy Pen doing exactly what its creators promise. It’s a little bulky, and obviously quite ugly  — it’s literally held together with tape, but it works.

The campaign is flexible funding, which means they get whatever is pledged with a “goal” of $200,000. There are two months left to reserve your pen for as little as $139. You’re taking a risk, but it’s a neat-looking risk. If the campaign pulls in enough money, I hope to see the Cronzy Pen become a reality.

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