The whole any-color pen thing started in 2014, when a gadget called the Scribble Ink pen hit Kickstarter.
Its designers claimed that by precisely mixing primary colors of ink from separate cartridges within its body, it was capable of reproducing colors that the user first scanned via the pen itself, or transmitted to it from a smartphone app. Unfortunately, though, funding for the project was subsequently cancelled. The pen is now listed as being available for preorder, on the Scribble website.
The Cronzy pen subsequently showed up on Indiegogo in 2016, utilizing the same operating principal. Its campaign was likewise unsuccessful, and a click on its company website link now takes one to the Scribble site – this presumably means that the same people were behind both pens, or that the two projects merged.
Anyhow, the Artera is now on Kickstarter, and its creators assure us that it is not related to the Scribble or the Cronzy. It does work in much the same way, though.
Utilizing a scanner built into the non-writing end of the pen, users are able to scan pretty much any colored surface. An integrated microprocessor reportedly then determines what combination of cyan, magenta, yellow, black or white dyes are needed to reproduce that surface's color, as supplied by cartridges within the pen. The user then simply writes or draws in that color, utilizing their choice of interchangeable ballpoint or brush-type nibs.
Alternatively, it's also possible to simply choose a color from a palette in an accompanying app, the mix code for which is then transmitted to the pen via Bluetooth. Favorite or frequently-used color codes can be saved for future use.
One set of ink cartridges is said to be good for about 200 meters (656 ft) of writing, with one charge of the 400-mAh lithium battery lasting for a claimed six hours of use. It's reckoned that a set of five refill cartridges should cost less than two dollars.
If you aren't gun-shy from hearing about the projects that preceded it, you can now preorder an Artera for a pledge of US$129. Assuming it reaches production, delivery is estimated for next October.