If you didn’t know any better, you could easily mistake the RocketBook Wave for a regular-old notebook. For one, it looks like the average office supply essential; it’s made of regular paper, has a spiral-bound spine and you could use a pen to write in it like you do with any other notebook. Nothing fancy yet. But look a little closer…
The first giveaway of the RocketBook’s unusual capabilities might be the seven badge-like symbols at the bottom of each page that allow you to upload and automatically digitally categorize your notes…or the fact that the notebook, rather than being obliterated when you accidentally cook it in the microwave, actually just erases your notes to make a clean new set of pages.
The point is, the RocketBook Wave is not your average notebook; it’s a “Cloud-Ready Microwavable Notebook” and if you were smart enough to be one of the backers in its $1M-funded Indiegogo campaign, it’s supposed to be hitting your doorsteps within the next month…
Again, it looks like a regular notebook; it’s 8.5 x 9.5 inches with 80 totally normal pages inside, which you can use, well, to do totally normal notebook stuff. Or not…
If you use Pilot Frixion pens to write in them, the pages are reusable – since the ink in Frixion pens goes clear when subjected to a certain amount of heat, you could erase the ink with a rubber eraser, or you could just stick the whole thing in a microwave. Voilà: new notebook.
But as the video shows, the real gem of the RocketBook experience is the mobile app, which is available on both Android and iOS. The RocketBook app packs some advanced patent-pending image recognition and enhancement technology. That technology allows you to use the app to scan pages into cloud services of your choice – that’s where the symbols at the bottom of each page come into play.
Each symbol can be assigned a different destination to which you save your notes, such as EverNote, DropBox, Google Drive etc. Once you’ve set up all the image-to-storage-sites mappings, and you mark off the appropriate symbol on each page, taking a photo of the page then sends that page to the configured cloud storage service.
Since the completion of their crowdfunding campaing last spring, there have been a few notable developments and missteps.
There is now a logo on the notebook that lets owners know when it’s time to take the book out of the microwave; the logo goes from blue to white when the ink on all the pages has been cleared.
One hiccup that the project ran into during test runs was finding a way to expel any steam that may build up during microwaving process. The initial solution was to make the cover of the notebooks out of polypropylene, which is the material out of which microwave-safe containers are made. However, due to issues with sourcing the material, that plan was nixxed. To account for the required heat transfer, users are now asked to place a mug of water on top of the RocketBooks so it can absorb the excess microwave energy. Not every solution needs to be high-tech, apparently.
Another issue was that the app was detecting symbols that hadn’t actually been marked on the page, sending notes to the wrong storage destination. According to the company, however, that and other major bugs have been resolved.
Similar to the Moleskine LiveScribe and Wacom Bamboo Spark, The Rocketbook Wave is another one of those products that helps us seamlessly blend our analogue and digital lives, since many of us prefer not to choose between one and the other. The Wave helps conserve paper and keep clutter low to boot.
The RocketBook Wave is still available for purchase on IndieGogo, with units starting at $35.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.