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mck's picture
0 pencils

A proposal for a BlueTooth pen

Wacom's tablets operate via a sensor board in the tablet itself (which senses pressure, click, and other parameters) and a smaller sensor in the pen, which lets the tablet's sensor board know if it is being moved (and/or clicked).

However, the tablet's circuit board/CPU does most of the heavy work as far as moving the cursor around and drawing is concerned. Compare the price of a Wacom pen by itself (around $15 to $35) and the price of a tablet.

Here's the concept — move the major circuitry to the pen itself, which would be equipped with a small battery. Miniturizing the circuitry could be a a bit of a problem, but figuring as most of the electronics inside a tablet are to accomated its size, this could probably be easily solved.

The point of having the circuitry in the pen is that a pen is easier to move around (also easier to lose, but whatever...) and would work on any (relatively smooth) surface.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Three Degrees's picture
18 pencils

Sounds like a good idea but how would the pen know the boundaries. The whole idea behind the pen on a tablet is that the tablet mirrors the screen so where you touch the pen is where the cursor goes. I don't see it being very efficient to have a pen that acts just like a wireless mouse would. If they could get it to would that would be pretty cool though.

mck's picture
0 pencils

Well you could always calibrate the pen. That is if it was smart enough to know how much it has been moved and how far it is from a certain target. It can be done.

lrenhrda's picture
207 pencils

It is the symbiosis of the sensors in the tablet and the "tag" in the pen that allows the tablet to track the movement of the pen. What you're suggesting would be a completely different approach, and would probably require some sort of camera in the pen to detect any motion at all.

Not that it couldn't work... it could be possible to build the circuitry into a pen with a built-in camera, not unlike an optical mouse. But I imagine that using the pen would be similar to using a Wacom tablet without drivers installed; there'd be no accurate way to guage the pen's placement on the screen.

Juice10's picture
21 pencils

If it knows its boundaries it could be potentially used on a display with a hard surface.

tripdragon's picture
416 pencils

rats cant find my old post..

Had wanted this for like ever... You would tell it where four corners are on the ammout of a drawn square is .. So if you trace the square on a sheet of paper it would create it's box. OR just use it in mouse mode and get surface anywhere everywhere..

Wacom will NEVER make it, it would eat their sales right up.. Now if someone else did it and made it just for artists instead of namby pamby ink signature recognition crap they keep hucking those at... Well then...

But dont leave it to windows... We saw what came of the tablet pc... gen one and two..

Apple? Ya hear anything ? Make artists a mac tablet... !

workys --->>

mck's picture
0 pencils

It doesn't need to actually. Does your Pro Mouse know "where it is"? No. All it needs is a laser to detect motion, and then it just moves the cursor from where it is currently to the direction moved. You could always calib it to your display if you want a 1:1 ratio.

lrenhrda's picture
207 pencils

If I have a pen with a camera in it like my mouse, and draw a rectangle on a sheet of paper to use as my "tablet," once my pen moves into the center of the shape, away from the edge, how will it know where it is in relation to the edge?

There needs to be some kind of grid for it to be able to place the cursor in a corresponding location on the screen. This is motion in relation to environment. Thanks to the grid, the software can know exactly where inside the *envornment* the pen is, at all times.

On the other hand, an optical pen that detects motion the same way that my optical mouse does would need to constantly compare its current "view" to the view it had a split second ago. This is how it detects motion. It does not require a grid, or a boundary; it's motion in relation to self. Unfortunately, since it does not care about a grid or a boundary, there is no way for the software to know if you've placed the pen down on a square and whether or not you've place it near the corner, in the center, or at the top. It doesn't care.

Personally, it boils down to the behavior of the mouse and your preferences. Do you care if the mouse knows where it is in relation to the screen, the way tablets work currently, or do you prefer how a mouse works: only detecting motion in relation to its previous position?

Wysiwyg's picture
4 pencils

I really dislike this idea for two reasons: weight and battery. I had a Plawa tablet with much of the circuitry embeeded in the pen, which added some weight and size to it, making very unconfortable to use. Plus, i´d hate to worry about battery life - one of the major flaws in that tablet. Wacom is way better thanks to its thinner, lighter and solid pen that requires no recharge at all.

tripdragon's picture
416 pencils

then have it usb wired

workys --->>

min lee's picture
11 pencils

I remember coming across this when I was looking for the same thing. It probably doesn't compare to wacom in accuracy and sensitivity. I think it's just a matter of time before we do get a mouse pen that can replace the tablet.

On a related note, since I upgraded from osx 10.3 to 10.4, my tablet stop recognizing the boundary and it just moved relative to its location like an ordinary mouse. I've grown acustom to it over time (Ironically, I upgraded right after I grown acustom to using the tablet after years of using the mouse). It always threw me off that I have widescreen laptop and a 4:3 tablet anyway so the boundary thing don't bother me.

Flub-Dub's picture

in my opinion
size IS an issue here so dont expect it to be thin and sleek.
power is always a problem. you could either get something that "lives" on its own for no more than a few hours or have a wire attached to it. and that would suck big time because you need the weight balanced to the tip of the pen or, at least equal (head to tail). if a wire is required afterall, then it has to be a very thin, stringy wire.

besides the laser on the tip, you would need something that gets the pressure too. a pressure sensitive tip combined with a laser. it should be something like a cone or a cylinder, inside the cone is the laser sensor, while the cone should be pressure sensitive. there is another issue here regarding the orientation of the laser.

with a regular optical mouse, the sensor does not tilt, rather it moves parallel to the surface while a pen is being tilted depending on strokes, hand position, personal preference etc. it would suck big time to have a pen that needs to be held in a perfect vertical posish or at an exact angle in order to work. i dont know if that can be done with only one laser. maybe you would need 3 or 4 lasers. and that complicates the matter.

now lets move to the tail, you need another optical sensor there.
for the eraser. it is impractical for that sensor to be ON all time. not only it will distract you visually but it will also eat power. so you need to place a digital gyroscope inside the pen, so that when you turn it upside down it will cut the power from the tip and active the eraser sensor.

what else is there on the pen? buttons.

k, how will the coordinates and the button actions get to the computer?
through radio or wire?
while it is fairly easy to have a very accurate laser beam, pooling fast the coordinates through radio frequency might be an issue.
i would incline to think that after all a wired solution is more practical.

to summarize:
- 1 or more optical sensors in the tip
- 1 or more optical sensors in the eraser.
- pressure sensitive tip (cone or cylinder)
- make sure angle is not an issue
- digital gyroscope which detects the fliping of the pen
- wire vs wireless
- enough power to sustain at least 1 sensor and radio (if its the case).
- make sure everything is as small as possible
- make sure the weight is correctly balanced
- make sure you dont get visually distracted by the sensors.
- craddle (for charging battery or at least not lose the pen on the table)

in my opinion it will look more like a marker than a pen
but im not an engineer =p

and a final thought. what would stop me for tryin to use the mouse on a vertical surface? will it work? will it work if i use it directly on the monitor screen? now think again about the gyro inside. the flipping of the pen is quite different now.

always outnumbered, never outgunned

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