• engineering

Following our Think Kit announcement, we’ve received a lot of questions about the mysterious Intention Engine™ that can turn messy circles and squares into something like this:

One thing we didn’t talk about is how it can also turn handwriting like this:

into this:

It’s a quantum leap in handwriting recognition, and to build it, we had to really think outside the box. When we found that the most sophisticated algorithms weren’t up to the task, we turned to what we think represents one of the greatest untapped handwriting recognition and correction resources on the planet: our nation’s grandmothers.

Building with Nanatechnology

The instant you begin writing in Paper, we’ve already activated “Nananet” on your behalf. We’ve reached out to the nation’s grandmothers and built the largest network of people with great handwriting since… well, since people actually used the post office. We have two major “Nanacluster” availability zones: our largest one in Florida, with a smaller one in Arizona.

Icon created by Matt Brooks for The Noun Project

Once your writing sample is submitted, it’s only a matter of minutes before one of our Nanas returns a beautiful, cursive, corrected version of your chicken scratches. While the digital version is available almost instantly, look for the grandmother icon in the latest release of Paper. Tap it to receive a handwritten copy of your corrected text in the mail. The note will be on beautiful 24lb, watermarked, 100% pure cotton paper, and it’ll also smell faintly of lavender and liniment.

Icon created by Francesca Arévalo for The Noun Project


Nananet delivers high-performance handwriting recognition and correction between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm, with a slight dip in the mid-day that we’ve correlated to when the soaps are on.

Because the vast number of Nanas connect to the internet over AOL dialup, we’ve had to develop special compression algorithms to speed file transfer.

Many of the initial handwriting tests were returned by Nananet with extraneous text, most often questions about whether you’re wearing that sweater, and when you’re going to get married and have some grandkids.

The Future

We feel we’re really just at the beginning of the Nanatech revolution. We’re already looking at technology which could transform your sketches into beautiful custom-crafted needlepoint samples, and produce made-to-order crocheted cozies for Pencil.