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eWriting Technology: Indispensable and Sustainable for 21st Century Businesses, Schools, Consumers and Communities
SEP 10, 2016 13:32 PM
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eWriting Technology: Indispensable and Sustainable for 21st Century Businesses, Schools, Consumers and Communities

By: Albert M. Green, PhD, CEO, Kent Displays, Inc.

In your next meeting, notice how many people use pen and paper to take notes – despite access to smartphones, laptops and other communication technology. You are witnessing the power and durability of handwriting. Now technology experts in academia and industry are developing tools to integrate handwriting into digital communications, and have spawned revolutionary solutions in the new category of “eWriting.”

Recent academic research shows that humans tend to retain information better when writing by hand, rather than typing. A widely cited article published in Psychological Science revealed that, participants who wrote notes by hand demonstrated stronger understanding and retention of the material covered - and were also more successful in applying and integrating the information - than participants who typed notes. Many studies show handwriting activates areas of the brain, which aid in early childhood language and literacy development. In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program funded Kent Displays, Inc., with Kent State University, to investigate the impact of Boogie Board™ eWriters on student learning.

eWriting technology combines the familiarity and natural feel of handwriting with the capabilities of mobile devices and computers for digital information storage and sharing. As a result, businesses, schools and others can reduce costs, improve communication and inspire great ideas for individuals and teams.

An “eWriter” - a portable, reusable storage and display medium - captures handwritten information electronically and can be erased (refreshed) many times. Low-power eWriter displays are made by Kent Displays, E Ink, CLEARink, Sharp and others, some of which offer writing experiences for users similar to writing on paper. For example, Kent Displays’ flexible, plastic cholesteric liquid crystal display (LCD) is lightweight, about the same thickness as a business card, and even sounds like the scratch of pen on paper when users write on the surface with any stylus, even a fingernail. Industry expert Ken Werner writes, “The device provides a pleasing pen-on-paper feel, which is an absolute requirement for a successful eWriter.”

New directions for eWriting allow users to take pen-and-paper-style advantage of our ubiquitous handhelds. Many tablets now have a pen input feature, and, new writing options exist for smartphones. For example, Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note [ a phablet (smartphone/tablet crossover) incorporates pen writing ability.

eWriting technology offers significant benefits of communication efficiency and effectiveness for several handwriting intensive industry sectors:

-        Healthcare – communications with patients with voice limitations, documentation of care

-        Education – teaching and testing, especially math, chemistry and languages

-        Business – note-taking and sharing in meetings, collaborative brainstorming

-        Defense/security – maintenance checklists, signature authentication


eWriting technology helps our environment. Per the Environmental Paper Network, making one sheet of non-recycled paper releases about 0.03 pounds of greenhouse gases. However, an iPad releases about 0.004 pounds of greenhouse gases an hour. Therefore, a student could take notes for seven hours on an iPad before the greenhouse gas emissions exceeded those of a single piece of paper. Schools that implement eWriting programs can reduce environmental damage, while enabling students to learn, communicate and spark ideas more effectively with handwriting.

Display industry innovators will help transform global communication for humans that currently use analog writing. Successful leaders will develop new sustainable eWriting technologies that can capture, store, share and present information while leveraging the user’s natural handwriting experience, Together, we will write – rather, eWrite – the future of display technology to improve our workplaces, our communities and our world.  


“Boogie Board” is a trademark of Kent Displays, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries

“iPad” is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries

“Galaxy Note” is a trademark of SAMSUNG, registered in the U.S. and other countries

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