Whether it's a heartfelt note to a loved one or a thank you letter following a job interview, new apps are aiming to revive the tradition of hand-written notes with a high-tech twist.
Bond Gifts, a free app for iPhones, lets users write a digital message that is converted into a hand-written note. A robot called Giles at the company's New York headquarters writes the letter with a fountain pen on embossed stationery.
The notes are sent in the mail, complete with a wax seal, to the recipient.
"It's a way to marry technology with tradition. When you get the mail there's never anything good anymore because we're all communicating digitally," said Sonny Caberwal, founder and chief executive officer of Bond Gifting, which created the app.
"People might think about writing a note, but very few people actually do it," he said, adding it is a quick way to provide a personal touch.
The user types the message and provides the recipient's address, or the app can find the address for the sender. Each hand-written note costs $5.
The app also sells and sends gifts, such as books and candles, with a hand-written note within the United States. It also keeps track of birthdays and special events.
"Remember when you a had a box of printed photos? They had permanence. We want to bring that same feeling back," said Caberwal.
Felt, an app for the iPad, also sends hand-written notes and lets users select from multiple designs, pen styles and ink colors.
Tomer Alpert, the CEO of the Telluride, Colorado-based company, said he got the idea for the app after driving home from a dinner party. He wanted to send a thank you card but was too tired to stop to find one.
Other apps converted text to computer-generated cursive font, but didn't use people's actual hand-writing, according to Alpert.
"There wasn't a simple option to hand write your card and hand address the envelope, and just let someone else deal with the stamps," he explained.
With Felt, users write their message on the iPad and it is printed in their own handwriting on the card. The notes, only available in the U.S., cost $3.99.
Bond Gifting's Caberwal said some of the most interesting messages his company has seen involve the U.S. government shutdown.
"We're starting to see people write notes to Congress telling people to get back to work," he said.