2008-11-30

Computerized sketch pad interfaces

Not that I know much about the topic, I'd like to, know about the topic, that is.

Because bad as my hand-eye coordination is, I'd still do better using some form of pen drawing interface than I do using a trackball for sketching.

In theory, there are a number of products available which allow you to merrily draw on a surface and have it appear on the computer screen, and software packages which then allow you to grab what you've sketched and make it more rigorous, more as if you'd used rulers, compasses, calipers, etc., orienting the sketch and snapping the lines into a grid-assisted format.

I want this. If I felt confident about a product, I'd even be able to convince myself I need this and make the purchase, but finding information is a stone-cold bitch, pardon my Anglo-Saxon, but there ain't no sugar-coating it, information is just scarce as hen's teeth, except that as certain Discovery Channel programs have demonstrated they've engineered chickens with teeth, don't know if they've brought any to maturity, but hen's teeth aren't so scarce any longer, compared to reliable information on computerized sketch pad systems. At least in regard to what I've been able to track down, and I'm not actually the best Internet searcher out there, never had any formal coursework on it, I know searches can be put together than I do and that there have to be better search terms than I've used.

Anyway.

There are systems where you effectively have dopplering radar set up, where you bring your pen into the field and it records all the movements as coordinates and plots that on the screen, you can use a normal pen and paper with this, they have big one's you can set up using chalk/dry erase boards, standard classroom size boards, great for instruction/brainstorm sessions. Probably arcane signals for things like erasing or asking for a clean slate.

Some similar systems, still able to work with regular paper, the impression I have is that the writing implement has a small short-range transmitter embedded into it, so that you set up an tiny localized GPS system, effectively. I think this type allows for erasing via a different signal sent from the eraser end of the stylus.

Then there are the touch pad systems, where you work with a touchscreen-type system, using a stylus to sketch on the screen, kinda like the old pressure sensitive sketch pads from my youth, these are variants on the Tablet PC concept, more focused on the sketch pad end of things so they don't have a full OS but rather are recognized as an input device, generally USB interface, although I suspect that wireless version s are now available. If you could also use them as an ebook reader life would be good, but I don't think they've realized the marketability of such a hybrid, something to sketch with that can also be used for reading standard format documents, hmm, if one could use it for mark-up purposes combining both purposes it could be truly powerful; I'd like it, loads.

While I can find info on these various systems, the one thing I can't find is where I could actually try one out before buying, so I could see if I could use it successfully. Probably some CAD/graphics expo is where I'd have to go, and that just isn't gonna happen, unless something shows up locally and I hear about it, the combination being unlikely.

Why do I want something like this? I get ideas for things, and the ability to draw as I think, and to then manipulate the drawings at a latter date would be wonderful, and scanning drawings in and then struggling with mice or trackballs doesn't cut it. And some of the ideas might actually turn out to be marketable, if I could clean up my sketches without having to hire a graphical artist to do it for me, which also would have the whole problem of getting what I visualize expressed well enough that someone else could do the drawings, at a certain level I need to do the drawings myself.

Now if only I could plug my brain into a hook-up such that what I visualize appears on the screen, I'd be set. Nothing like being able to visualize in three dimensions, rotate and transform mentally, and have hands which won't do what I want them to. I can see the stuff in my mind, but transferring it to media of some sort is the problem, my hands just won't do what I want them to do.

Ties into the whole disability thing, synapses and such just don't work right, and that then triggers frustration which causes things to deteriorate and there you go, damn near comatose at time with systems shutting down on me.

Mental brilliance combined with physical sub-par ability just frustrates the hell out of me. And with the physical sub-parness resulting in mental function ranging between extreme genius and barely able to care for myself because the brain fuzzes up that much, ick.

Boy, I've wandered afield, haven't I?

If you haven't read it, look for the story, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes, for a long time it showed up in the various best Science Fiction stories of all time collections, he then expanded it into a novel, they made it into a movie, charly (1968)with a backwards r, Flowers for Algernon (2000) I haven't seen the movies so I don't know how badly they butchered it. I feel the short story version is the best, at least it hits harder in some ways. I fear it becomes increasingly difficult for me to reflect upon the story, for it seems too reminiscent of my life, and what I fear in regard to my decline.

OK, I'm going to see if I can cheer myself up somehow, thankfully I do have an innately cheery personality.

1 comment:

David said...

Hi Ian,

I can't claim to know much about them either, but I have also been thinking about graphics tablets recently.

I think the ultimate might be these:
http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/index.cfm

It solves the disconnect problem nicely. But wow are they expensive.

David