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It's a Pen. It's a Top. It's a way to create a playful atmosphere during conference calls and meetings. Read more

87
backers
$7,943
pledged of $20,000 goal

Funding Canceled

Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on April 16, 2014.

It's a Pen. It's a Top. It's a way to create a playful atmosphere during conference calls and meetings.

About this project

The Totem Pen series combines a high-quality writing tool with different types of spinning tops. Just unscrew the cap and spin the top.

The pen trilogy consists of three different pens: Tippe, Totem and Teetotum. All pens will be manufactured and assembled in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Do you spend a lot of time in meetings and conference calls? So do we! During the conference, you make notes but often you need to keep your hands as well as your mind occupied. A Totem Pen facilitates both of that.

Place your Totem Pen in a mug on your desk as your own personal office totem.
Place your Totem Pen in a mug on your desk as your own personal office totem.

The Tippe Pen is based on the Tippe Top, which was patented by the late Danish Engineer, Werner Østberg, back in 1950. 

When spun, the Tippe Top tips from its normal position to the stem. 

This behaviour is not intuitive, and many physicists, e.g. the Nobel laureate Niels Bohr, took a great interest in the top.  

Nobel laureates in physics, Wolfgang Pauli (left) and Niels Bohr, observing the Tippe Top (photo courtesy of the Niels Bohr Archive)
Nobel laureates in physics, Wolfgang Pauli (left) and Niels Bohr, observing the Tippe Top (photo courtesy of the Niels Bohr Archive)

The Totem Pen features a spinning top suitable for the detection if you’re dreaming or not. According to modern mythology: If the top continues to spin, you’re dreaming. If it stops, you’re not.  Totem Pen can stand on its own as shown in this photo (and briefly in the video).

"Dream on, Garth"
"Dream on, Garth"

The Teetotum Pen is based on an ancient Roman design where a die is combined with a spinning top.

Need to make a decision? Just assign a possibility to each side of the Teetotum and spin it.

"Are you a child or a teetotum?, the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles. You’ll make me giddy soon, if you go turning round like that" (Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland)
"Are you a child or a teetotum?, the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles. You’ll make me giddy soon, if you go turning round like that" (Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland)

The Totem Pens will be milled out by our American manufacturing partner in Ann Arbor, Michigan, using state-of-the-art machines and highly skilled workers. It is entirely made in aluminum alloy 6061 and with an anodized coating AA10 so that the parts will keep their metallic surface finish for many years.

The Totem Pens features a Pilot G2 refill cartridge for optimal writing comfort and easy replacement. These are available at nearly any office supply store in a variety of ink colors and tip thicknesses.  If we reach funding goals, we'll poll people to determine the included cartridges (blue, black, fine, very fine, etc).

The Pens have a diameter of 10mm. The dimensions shown here are for the current prototypes.  We may do some minor changes as we move along. We already know that we want to increase the diameter of the Tippe Top a few mm to make it easier to spin.

The prototypes shown were manufactured in Atlanta, Georgia. All production pens will be manufactured in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

We need to manufacture a certain minimum amount of pens to get the unit cost down to a reasonable level. We also need to purchase G2 refills; as well as assemble, pack and ship the finished pens to our backers.

It started with the idea that we needed something to do with our hands during teleconferences. A spinning top was the whimsical side, a pen was the practical side. From there, the idea of joining them was born. 

The Totem Pen design process
The Totem Pen design process

We sketched out the basics, and used those sketches to create 3D models. After some searching, we found a great supplier to cut out the prototypes based on the 3D models. These are the examples you can see in the video.  

Based on these prototypes, we've refined the designs for greater spinability and better fit for the cartridges. Next step, hopefully, is the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign and a move to production.

The Totem Pen team, Dreamer and Decider Michael Ford (left) and Dreamer and Thinker Soren Jensen, observing the spinning top of the Tippe Pen
The Totem Pen team, Dreamer and Decider Michael Ford (left) and Dreamer and Thinker Soren Jensen, observing the spinning top of the Tippe Pen

So, which type are you?

_______________

Thanks to Hans Ekström, Curitiba, for finding the video location in Passauna, to Dr. Richard Cohen from MIT, Boston, for the use of the scientific paper on the physics of the Tippe Top, and to the Niels Bohr Archive, Copenhagen, for the use of the photo of Pauli and Bohr. A special thanks to Duco for the video and the identity.

Risks and challenges

We have already designed and manufactured the first prototypes - and have successfully tested their 'spinnability'. Minor details need to be optimized before going into real production. We work with excellent American manufacturers of high precision CNC milled parts. We believe that all elements of the project are manageable. If we get many more backers than expected, of course there may be bottle necks in delivery and distribution, but we’ll serve our backers on a first backed, first served basis.

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FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $1 reward

    5 backers

    Become an official Totem Pen supporter! Access to project updates and the ability to provide feedback - along with our thanks for supporting the project.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $35 reward

    1 backer

    Totem Top Only. Get the Totem model top threaded to work with the pen. Suitable for all your dream verification needs while drifting off on conference calls. Add $10 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $35 reward

    0 backers

    Teetotum - Top Only. Get the Teetotum model top threaded to work with the pen. Suitable for helping you make quick and decisive action while on your conference calls. Add $10 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    0 backers

    Tippe - Top (And collar) Only. Get the Tippe model top along with the threaded collar for attaching to the pen. Suitable for challenging your thinking and keeping you sharp while on your teleconferences. Add $10 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $65 reward

    44 backers Limited (6 left of 50)

    Early Bird Special! The Totem Pen. Get the Totem Top with the matching pen. Suitable for all your dream verification needs while drifting off on conference calls. Also be first on the delivery list.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $65 reward

    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    Early Bird Special! Get one Teetotum Pen and be first on the delivery list. Suitable for when you have to make fast decisions.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    2 backers

    The Totem Pen. Get the Totem model top with the matching pen. Suitable for all your dream verification needs while drifting off on conference calls.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    0 backers

    The Teetotum Pen. Get the Teetotum Top with the matching pen. Suitable for helping you make quick and decisive action while on your conference calls.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    2 backers

    EU Backer: The Totem Pen. Get the Totem model top with the matching pen. Suitable for all your dream verification needs while drifting off on conference calls.

    For backers located in the European Union only. We will arrange shipment from a distribution center in Germany to backers inside the EU..

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    0 backers

    EU Backer: The Teetotum Pen. Get the Teetotum Top with the matching pen. Suitable for helping you make quick and decisive action while on your conference calls.

    For backers located in the European Union only. We will arrange shipment from a distribution center in Germany to backers inside the EU.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $80 reward

    10 backers All gone!

    Early Bird Special! The Tippe Top. Get the Tippe Top with the matching pen. Suitable for challenging your thinking and keeping you sharp while on your teleconferences.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $90 reward

    0 backers

    The Tippe Pen. Get the Tippe Top with the matching pen. Suitable for challenging your thinking and keeping you sharp while on your teleconferences.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $90 reward

    0 backers

    EU Backer: The Tippe Pen. Get the Tippe Top with the matching pen. Suitable for challenging your thinking and keeping you sharp while on your teleconferences.

    For backers located in the European Union only. We will arrange shipment from a distribution center in Germany to backers inside the EU.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $140 reward

    1 backer

    The Set for the Dreamer and Decider: Totem Pen and Teetotum Pen! Get one each of the Totem and Teetotum Top with two matching machined pens. Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $155 reward

    5 backers

    The Set for the Dreamer and Thinker: Totem Pen and Tippe Pen! Get one each of the Totem Top and Tippe Top with two matching machined pens. Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $155 reward

    0 backers

    The Set for the Thinker and Decider: Tippe Pen and Teetotum Pen. Get one each of the Tippe and the Teetotum Tops with two matching machined pens. Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $160 reward

    2 backers

    The Hydra: Get one of each top along with a single pen that can be attached to any of the tops. Keep your options open - be able to dream, think, and decide - as you decide. Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $220 reward

    7 backers

    The Complete Set: Totem Pen, Tippe Pen and Teetotum Pen. Get one each of the Totem, Tippe, & Teetotum Tops with a matching machined pen for each. Keep your options open - be able to dream, think, and decide - as you decide.

    Add $20 for International Shipping (all taxes and duties are responsibility of receiver)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $220 reward

    1 backer

    EU Backer - The Complete Set: Totem Pen, Tippe Pen and Teetotum Pen. Get one each of the Totem, Tippe, & Teetotum Tops with a matching machined pen for each. Keep your options open - be able to dream, think, and decide - as you decide.

    For backers located in the European Union only. We will arrange shipment from a distribution center in Germany to backers inside the EU.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)