July 01, 2010

Demo: Pressure-sensitive sketching on iPad

The folks at Ten One Design have prototyped a pressure-sensitive stylus for use with iPads:

It’s encouraging to see this progress, but according to the developers’ notes, it sounds like Apple may disallow the inclusion of the needed library. Let’s hope the bottlenecks get removed sooner rather than later. [Via]

Posted by John Nack at 8:06 PM on July 01, 2010


  • Mordy Golding — 8:41 PM on July 01, 2010

    That palm rejection feature looks AWESOME.

    [Are you being facetious? Having to kill off all finger-touch events just to achieve palm rejection seems unworkable. Unfortunately AFAIK the iPad doesn’t give developers blob data (only points), so I’m not sure what’s involved in doing effective palm rejection (besides, of course, wearing fingerless gloves like you’re driving a friggin’ Hansom cab). –J.]

  • pixelmixture — 10:22 PM on July 01, 2010

    the other way, to bypass rejection, is to design a pressure sensitive pen communication the pressure values to the iphone/ipad via bluetooth

  • David Lee — 10:53 PM on July 01, 2010

    An app like this is exactly what I am looking for!!! Being able to take notes without having to worry about your hand doing the drawing would put this app well above any current notetaking app I have used on the iPad.

  • Noobiscus — 12:43 AM on July 02, 2010

    1: Steve Jobs: “It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it.”
    So I wouldn’t be holding my breath for Apple to bend their rules to allow this product to work on the iPad.

    2: wow; someone should be fixing the tab index in your “Post a comment” section – its painful. (focus any input in that area, hit tab, jumps to top of page and focus is…just lost somewhere completely unresponsive)

    • joe — 3:40 PM on November 09, 2010

      I wish that he wasn’t so single minded. His almost cool piece of hardware/software is stunted. I hope very much that this could make it in, it would be real value to the ipad. Ideally a “bluetooth” (or whatever tech) fully pressure sensitive one that is a separate input so that the fingers can still work on areas of the screen that look for fingers, and writing areas that look for the pen would be the perfect solution.

  • Phil Brown — 1:05 AM on July 02, 2010

    That is really, really good news, John. Thanks for sharing the link.

    I wonder what price-point they will be looking at releasing a stylus like that? I think, having used my iPad for a week and a bit now, that I would pay USD100- to USD150-

  • Fuad Kamal — 5:27 AM on July 02, 2010

    I don’t think Apple’s potential rejection is THAT huge an issue…most folks who really want to get the most use out of their i-Device will jailbreak, anyway…even Apple seems to add features to the OS based on the popular jailbreak features, so maybe pressure sensitivity will follow suit if the feel there is demand (and monetary reward) for it? If this gets rejected I hope we see it on Cydia like we recently saw MacMan. BTW I haven’t been able to find any examples of flash 10.1 on jailbroken devices, could anyone at Adobe point me in the right direction? ;)

  • Kaleb Wyman — 6:29 AM on July 02, 2010

    Impressive… unfortunately, I have my doubts that Apple will allow it considering it would break the user experience that they envisioned for these particular touch devices.

    Back when the iPhone was first released, Steve Jobs said, “We are all born with the ultimate pointing device — our fingers — and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”

    While the finger may be the best “pointing” device, I personally reject the implication that a finger is the best “drawing” device.

    We may have started in this world making art by finger painting, but (most) artists have come a long way since pre-school and have probably moved on to use a pencil, brush, or yes, a stylus.

    A portable device with a stylus is NOT a failure when it comes to making art. A pressure-sensitive pen provides the most natural way to draw and paint.

    Every artist I have ever talked to, has always dreamed of having a portable MacBook Pro tablet including a pressure sensitive stylus (with ALL the features of a Wacom pen: barrel rotation, tilt and bearing support) to use with Photoshop and Painter… think more like a Wacom Cintiq and MacBook Pro combined. We need at minimum a pressure-sensitive stylus to make proper illustrations, using a finger just doesn’t cut it anymore, and using a sausage to paint on an iPhone or iPad is no fun either…

    Currently I digitally draw and paint on the CalTrain during my commute to work from Palo Alto to S.F., and it’s extremely awkward to this on a 15″ macbook pro with a 6×11 Wacom tablet, but it’s the only way that I can currently have a pressure sensitive experience on a mac and I must say, this configuration barely passes as portable.

    My biggest hope is that Apple will bring to market a portable device that enables artists to draw and paint with a pressure-sensitive pen with tilt and barrel-rotation support.

    Unfortunately for us, the iPad was not that device… but seeing this demo gives me hope.

  • Gus Mueller — 3:51 PM on July 02, 2010

    Something tells me this isn’t pressure sensitive, but rather they’ve hooked into private APIs to figure out how big of an area the stylus is hitting. The end of a Ten One’s Pogo stylus is squishy, so if you push harder it’ll spread out a bit more. I bet they are just detecting the bigger surface area, and interpreting that to be “hey they are pressing harder”, and reporting back the larger surface area.

    What I’d like is the something close to the opposite. It seems to me there’s a minimum amount of surface area for a touch that the iPad accepts, before it’s registered as a touch event. I’d like to be able to say “take very tiny touches” so I could use a stylus with the width of say, a wacom stylus nib. And then some 3rd party hardware folks could then pass pressure sensitivity via bluetooth. That’d be fun.

  • Patricia — 9:18 AM on July 03, 2010

    That would be so great. But I thought the way the screens worked relied on some kind of electrical connectivity through your skin — and that that required a certain contact area. ?

  • Jacqueline Woodard — 1:16 PM on November 28, 2012

    Hello I may have something that helps.hello. My name is Jackie Woodard co creator of the madera freehand. The reason my husband and I made our own was because we had already tried every glove out there in the market. The hand glider was the worst for us. My husband is a graphic designer and comic book artist. He has drawn on everything from the Ipad to lately the Samsung Ative Smart PC. The madera freehand that we created is the only one that he has been using for the last 5 months since we debuted it in chicago con last August and it still works awesome.it rejects the palm to pefection and it is adjustable to your size. it is also very breathable and we did our best in making it as modern looking as possible.I think you will like it as well.

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