In 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.
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