We've always had a soft spot for the Paper app and Pencil stylus from FiftyThree. Today the company teased some new features that it plans to release next month as part of a set of tools called Think Kit. FiftyThree is set to unveil what it calls an Intention Engine — a predictive technology that would speed up the creation of of work on diagrams, charts, and presentations. "It’s like autocorrect for drawing," said the company. "And augments the ability of the human hand, so you can write and draw at the speed of thought."
"Write and draw at the speed of thought."
The company wouldn't divulge many details about how this "Intention Engine™" is going to work or exactly what tools will be in Think Kit, but it did include three images in the press release that provide some small clues. There is a flow chart, an area graph, and three new icons: a marker overlaid on a ruler, a pair of scissors, and a paint roller. It looks like users will be able to create more "serious" office work, although we don't know yet how the new system will attempt to translate a sketch into concrete data.
FiftyThree founder and CEO Georg Petschnigg did give a small hint about how it hopes Paper will stand out through predictive technology. "When you're working on a mobile device, you always have to tell it what you want to do before you can do it. Open a keyboard to type. Grab a shape or a pen tool to draw," he said. "We want to make it possible to create with a fluid ease, without having to prompt the computer first."
More "serious" productivity applications like this make sense given the new class of clients FiftyThree is pursuing. Along with teasing its upcoming products, FiftyThree announced a new round of funding this morning. The company raised a $30 million series B round of venture capital led by New Enterprise Associates, money it says will be used to continue expanding Paper's customer base beyond consumers and creative types to schools and corporations. "Our most common tools for innovative thinking – sticky notes, legal pads, and whiteboards – are stuck in the past," said Petschnigg. "With this investment we’ve accepted the challenge of bringing a new crop of tools for creative thinking to places where they matter most: education and enterprise."