Collusion brings super highresolution pen input to the iPad

first_imgIn case you haven’t noticed yet, people will never give up on the pen as an input device. No matter how good our capacitive screens get or how accurate gesture controls and voice commands become, some people will want to drag a stylus across their device just like they were counting up grain shipments in cuneiform. And, like it or not, pen input makes sense under some circumstances — it allows for better accuracy than taking notes with a finger and better speed as well. Of course capacitive devices, like the iPad, are optimized for touch input, so using a pen on them isn’t that much better then using a finger. With this in mind, Collusion was developed.Well, to put it more accurately, one third of the Collusion was developed. This Kickstarter project combines a digital pen, an iOS app, and cloud syncing in order to create an note-taking tool that also works as a collaboration system.The pen doesn’t work with the iPad’s touchscreen, rather it’s tracked by a device that plugs into the tablet’s 30-pin dock connection. This allows for excellent accuracy, apparently down to past the thousandth of a pixel level, according to a quote given to Cnet. Given the 3rd gen iPad’s 264 pixels-per-inch display the digital pen used by the Collusion is being followed somewhere into the nanometer range.*Past the pen and its reader, Collusion has a note-taking app, which looks quite slick in the video. The app syncs in real-time with the cloud and can be worked on by multiple people at once. This would make it useful for collaborative design, note-taking in a class or lecture setting, game playing, and other such activities. The software works with a range of file types, including PowerPoint, PDF documents, Microsoft Word, and a variety of image formats.The Collusion — no word yet on why the name was chosen despite its negative connotation and the existence of the Collusion browser app — starts at $99 if you get in early and will go for $129 after the first 200 are sold. If the product does what it’s supposed to $99 will be a pretty reasonable price for people that take their pen input seriously. The collaboration tools should be great for creative teams and will sweeten the deal for everyone else.Learn more at Kickstarter(My math: 264 pixels per inch = .00379 inches. Then the pen is said to be accurate to “to several decimal places of 1 pixel on the Retina display”, so let’s called it 0.0001, assuming several can be taken as “at least three”. This puts the accuracy of the pen at an something like 0.000000379 inches, or 9.63 nanometers. A piece paper is about 100,000 nanometers so, if my math is correct, this pen is very accurate. I’ve reached out to the company to check if they misspoke, as this sounds impossibly precise.)Update – 6/3/12 – Collusion got back to me and I’m told that Cnet truncated the quote. Robert Yearsley wrote to me saying…A quick explanation: The system works by resolving to pixels on a screen as the last step, rather than producing a pixel reference outright. What it is doing is simple trigonometry, measuring the trip time of ultrasonic pulses from the pen to two microphones to determine the ANGLE of a triangle on the screen and therefore the point in space where the pen is. These two numbers are accurate to several decimal places within a pixel. The ultrasonic transmitter in the pen sits about 5mm from the screen surface, so given that people dont hold their pen at right angle, the X:Y reference is calibrated ie between left and right handers to compensate for this, so therefore it is a different beast to pro high end pro tools like Wacom tablets, it is great for handwriting and sketching and best suited to the productivity space, rather than an artists or pro-illustrator tool.  The real world accuracy is as good as it gets for the ipad. As a result we’ve decided to go with the term ‘sub pixel accuracy’. That makes a bit more sense, doesn’t it?He also noted that while most people have been focused on the pen (guilty as charged), the team sees Collusion as a productivity tool that brings the iPad past the pen-and-paper mindset. The Kickstarter page notes, “We see Collusion as the opportunity to make productivity a lead capability of the iPad across Business, Education and Enterprise.” They see the iPad as a “PRIMARY productivity tool” (their emphasis). We’ll have to see how well their platform works and how well that goes.last_img read more

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