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IntelliPaper SwivelCards: Business cards with brains


TUAW usually doesn't talk about crowdfunding campaigns until they're live, but in the case of IntelliPaper SwivelCards, I thought I'd make an exception. The company is hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign later this month and sent me a pack of their business cards to try out. What's so special about the cards? Well, they fold origami-like into a USB drive with a tiny amount of capacity -- Get Info showed it to be about 5.1MB -- that can hold a link to custom landing web pages, Dropbox folders, or even screen sharing software for demonstrations and presentations. Here's a video explaining how it works:

What's impressive about the SwivelCards is not just the technology -- printing a USB drive onto paper -- but the fact that it enables those who hand out the cards to pull up analytics on exactly who has actually looked at the information.

Having brought home a gaggle of USB flash drives from trade shows that usually have tons of empty space and a few marketing brochures on them, I think this is a great idea. Rather than wasting a perfectly good USB drive, just give the person an inexpensive paper business card that contains a clickable link to those same marketing materials.

I did notice one oddity in the video and on the card -- a QR code. This makes sense, since it's quite easy to use any one of a number of iOS apps to read those codes from an iPhone or iPad since those devices don't have USB ports. So for mobile devices, the QR code serves the same purpose as the linked and configurable file on the USB drive.

If you're interested in backing the SwivelCards Kickstarter campaign once it goes live, be sure to visit and sign up to be notified.

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