New toys department

The Inkling


Sancho sent me a link to a new pen, which will go on sale this month, to translate an ink drawing, in real time as you do it on paper, directly into a digital image of the drawing. Sensors in the pen record the motion and pressure of the nib, recreating the exact lines being committed to paper, creating a replica of the drawing for reworking or sending/posting, via computer. I can’t ever see wanting to buy one of these, but for those who use Adobe or other software to digitally create prints, it might come in handy. It’s also an alternative to scanning or photographing a finished drawing for display on the Web. The technology can record and store hundreds of drawings before you ever have to upload to a computer, via USB port.

For me, though, limitations are what stood out.

Sancho: It says “pressure sensitive pen” so it must read pressure + position + time?

Me: Sure. It could easily register and transmit any kind of motion. The pressure could be picked up with a nib that “gives” a little under pressure.

Sancho: Right, I was just trying to think if there’s anything else it would need to know to reconstruct a drawing.  Does it need to know when and how long the pen was in each position?  Maybe not.  Pressure and position are enough.

Me: Yeah, that’s all there is, pretty much. A lot of other things happen in a drawing, though: erasing, smudging, swearing, tearing up paper, dancing with fury on the shreds, cutting off ear lobe in a fit of despair.

Sancho: You’ll need the upgrade to capture all that, I guess.

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