Was just (Saturday afternoon) sitting here (a coffeeshop) doing another set of drawings on my iPad and my mind went again to the thought of getting rid of my iPad, and reinvesting in the idea of my mobile as the computing center of things. My mobile, a stylus to "write on the air," and then a canvas being anything…
I think that it exists, just not as my mind is working it out. I could do a stylus, which is able to record and then send to my mobile the combination of gestures and save it to my mobile as an SVG-formatted graphic. And then on my mobile, I can do some extra things with the document such as export to other formats, share with others, or mash it up with other content (both on device and not) to create new document flows.
The key would be the intelligence of the stylus. You see, my thinking is that you would use Bluetooth (and probably NFC) to pair the stylus to your mobile. Then, you would draw an "invisible canvas." Think something like the stylus has the means to record space, and it will only record your drawings once you define that space in which it will record.
After you create this invisible canvas, you have to move your mobile into that space (think like pinning it to the top right or left corner). And then on screen you will see the results of your strokes.
The stylus I am asking for has to not just be able to interpret space, but also gestures. For example, when you mess up, flipping the stylus on its end (like a pencil with an eraser on its end) will allow you to do several types of deletion tasks:
– eraser stroke for getting rid of lines randomly
– big ‘X’ over the canvas to clear the canvas
– big ‘U’ over the canvas to undo the previous (big U + a number to undo several steps at once)
I’m liking this. How about some inking gestures:
– tap the mobile’s screen with the stylus and its interpreted as a zoom-in, double tap to zoom-out
– draw a ‘C’ on the mobile’s screen and get a color palette
– draw an ‘S’ on the mobile’s screen to get different stroke widths
Of course, such a system needs to have an auto-save feature. I’d like something where you have an option to save to two places automatically: your mobile and then the online services of your choice (Evernote, Dropbox, etc.).
Another gesture: wiggle the stylus in your hand and it "hibernates" the pen until you start drawing again.
You see, I’ve got this iPad on a desk, but I could have really done with the canvas being a lot larger than the 10in that the iPad afforded me. If I could have used this entire table, my resulting artwork would have been much better – even if I would have had to deal with that intermediation of drawing on the table, but seeing it on a screen in front of me.
An accessory and app like this, given some intelligence towards the data you create and the device you connect it with, turns the idea of a computer and canvas into something that’s literally drawn on the world. Not just in the confines of a terminal.