The r.feather and the philosophy behind

An article by Gábor Megyeri

Communication is one of the key elements of human development and existence. Handwriting is one of the most essential tools of long-lasting communication is as „what is spoken flies what is written never dies”.

We integrated the writing into our digitalized world just as so many other things, technically it has a crucial role in its creation. According to this, writing remained the foundation stone of communication. Unfortunately, this integration process required compromises. Its negative effects are already sensible, but we don’t know exactly its real consequences.

Handwriting

For many people, handwriting is only a disappearing, slow and old habit. This approach is very questionable, especially if we are investigating the subject of skill development. 

To understand the relevance, importance and the role of handwriting, we need to investigate the process of the brain and mind development.

Studies and researches are proving and highlighting the critical role of learning and practising handwriting during the early education process of children. It contributes not only to the proper development of fine motor movements but also to logical development and greatly facilitates reading. (1)

In 2016 the Ministry of Education in Finland eliminated handwriting in the schools and replaced it with keyboard typing and then with touch screen typing. The adverse effects of this action are already measurable.

Replacing handwriting on a keyboard causes problems even at higher education level. The fact, that university students probably already achieved the required level of handwriting and the evolution of their fine motoric skills and the logical development is completed, won’t affect anything. Positive effects can also be expressed with keyboard note-taking, such as accelerating the speed of note-taking, while the memory of the delivered course material is significantly lower than the traditional handwritten notes learning process.

The study entitled “A Comparative Study of Handwriting and Computer Typing in notetaking by University Students”proved that the students can take notes faster on keyboards, but the level of information capturing capabilities are significantly weeker in case of both the short- and long-term memory. This effect is also measurable with the subsequence tests. (2)

Handwriting is underestimated, it’s much more important than we believe. Its usage was so prevalent in the past centuries that we weren’t even thinking about its real importance. Now, as we are abandoning it, we start to realize and experience the negative effects of this phenomenon.

Man and writing

Handwriting has its role during the entire lifecycle of a human being. It plays a key role in the development of children's minds and logic, in maintaining the quality of learning for young adult students and in maintaining intellectual freshness in adulthood. Furthermore, handwriting has a significant role in monitoring the mental status. Handwriting tells a lot about the writer. Its transformation is constant during the entire lifecycle, but some abnormal and instant changes can indicate the appearance of mental disorders even in the very early stages. Such disorders are Parkinson and Alzheimer disease. In most cases, when these disorders have already evolved, handwriting can be used as therapy tools successfully. (3)

There are many types of activities to do with a writing instrument: writing, drawing, calligraphy art, etc. During the design and developing process of the r.feather, our primary goal was to create a tool which serves these art forms without the limitations of a regular writing instrument.

The creator can choose the function, the art form and the modular system is easily modifiable to it. It only takes seconds to turn the r.feather from a regularly usable writing device to a pro studio tool with adjustable weight balance. Thanks to its modular head compartment, you can use our writing instrument as a fountain pen, rollerball, or later even with different flex nibs, point nibs, marker and brush tips. This multifunctionality grants the broad usage spectrum. The r.feather is connected on multiple points to both, the digital and the analogue world. The basic writing and drawing functions represent thousands of years of heritage and value. The method and process of the ink mixing procedure is bound to the past with the future. And the product is placed in the future with the digital head section of the r.feather, which is under development.

Bibliography and interesting articles in the subject. (4)

Sources and Bibliography:

(1) James, Karin H. “The Importance of Handwriting Experience on the Development of the Literate Brain.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 26, no. 6 (December 2017): 502–8. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417709821.

(2) Aragón-Mendizábal, Estíbaliz, Cándida Delgado-Casas, José-I. Navarro-Guzmán, Inmaculada Menacho-Jiménez, and Manuel-F. Romero-Oliva. “A Comparative Study of Handwriting and Computer Typing in Note-Taking by University Students.” Análisis Comparativo Entre Escritura Manual y Electrónica En La Toma de Apuntes de Estudiantes Universitarios. 24, no. 48 (7/1/2016 2016): 101–7. https://doi.org/10.3916/C48-2016-10.

(3) Uzun, Mustafa, Nevzat Alkan, Omer Kurtas, Riza Yilmaz, Muhammet Can, and Ismail Birincioglu. “Changes in Handwriting Due to Alzheimers Disease a Case Report.” The Bulletin of Legal Medicine 21 (August 15, 2015): 116–116. https://doi.org/10.17986/blm.2015220397.

(4) James, Karin H. “The Importance of Handwriting Experience on the Development of the Literate Brain.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 26, no. 6 (December 2017): 502–8. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417709821.

Palmis, Sarah, Jeremy Danna, Jean-Luc Velay, and Marieke Longcamp. “Motor Control of Handwriting in the Developing Brain: A Review.” Cognitive Neuropsychology 34, no. 3/4 (June 5, 2017): 187–204. https://doi.org/10.1080/02643294.2017.1367654.

Aragón-Mendizábal, Estíbaliz, Cándida Delgado-Casas, José-I. Navarro-Guzmán, Inmaculada Menacho-Jiménez, and Manuel-F. Romero-Oliva. “A Comparative Study of Handwriting and Computer Typing in Note-Taking by University Students.” Análisis Comparativo Entre Escritura Manual y Electrónica En La Toma de Apuntes de Estudiantes Universitarios. 24, no. 48 (7/1/2016 2016): 101–7. https://doi.org/10.3916/C48-2016-10.

Uzun, Mustafa, Nevzat Alkan, Omer Kurtas, Riza Yilmaz, Muhammet Can, and Ismail Birincioglu. “Changes in Handwriting Due to Alzheimers Disease a Case Report.” The Bulletin of Legal Medicine 21 (August 15, 2015): 116–116. https://doi.org/10.17986/blm.2015220397.

Roessingh, Hetty, David Nordstokke, and Mitchell Colp. “Unlocking Academic Literacy in Grade 4: The Role of Handwriting.” Reading & Writing Quarterly 35, no. 2 (March 4, 2019): 65–83. https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2018.1499160.

De Stefano, Claudio, Francesco Fontanella, Donato Impedovo, Giuseppe Pirlo, and Alessandra Scotto di Freca. “Handwriting Analysis to Support Neurodegenerative Diseases Diagnosis: A Review.” Pattern Recognition Letters, Graphonomics for e-citizens: e-health, e-society, e-education, 121 (April 15, 2019): 37–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.patrec.2018.05.013.

Doug, Roshan. “Handwriting: Developing Pupils’ Identity and Cognitive Skills.” International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies 7, no. 2 (April 30, 2019): 177–88. https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.7n.2p.177.

English