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Tuesday August 30, 2011 4:10 pm

Wacom Inkling is a digital pen for artists

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Accessories, Design, Handhelds, Videos

We've long been fans of the Livescribe pens, a tool that lets you hand-write notes that are then digitized and available immediately on your computer; it's a handy tool for journalists or students. Wacom on Tuesday announced a similar product, this time geared toward artists and visual thinkers: the Wacom Inkling.

The Inkling is a "digital sketch pen" that allows you to draw or sketch on any standard piece of paper (a big advantage over Livescribe, which requires special notebooks) and automatically have a digital version created. The pen looks like a regular ballpoint pen, but is much more powerful than that. As you draw, sketches, mind-maps, or brainstorms all get captured, pen stroke by pen stroke. You can even create layers as you sketch, and edit drawings even easier when you get back to the computer. Files can be accessed in applications like Photoshop and Illustrator, or just viewed on the computer.

There's also a receiver that comes with the Inkling, which is likely how Wacom was able to avoid requiring special paper. The receiver clips to whatever page or notebook you're using, and requires an uninterrupted line of sight with the pen while you're working. The receiver stores all your drawings, and connects to your computer to offload them. It could be a little kludgy, as the receiver is fairly large and is one more thing to carry and set up when you want to work. Battery life for the system, Wacom says, is more than eight hours of working time, which is a good number, but still means you might want to carry a normal pen or the charging cable in case you have a full day's worth of sketching to do.

Wacom has been in the digital drawing business for a while, and brings some of its impressive technology to the Inkling. The pen will recognize 1,024 different levels of sensitivity, so the strength with which you press on the paper will be accurately translated onto the paper, and onto the digital copy. Wacom's Sketch Manager software is also included, which lets you manage image layers, change filke formats, and more.

Much like the Livescribe, the system is designed for people who want all the freedom and power of digital documents, but still prefer to take notes (as with the Livescribe) or draw (with the Inkling) by hand. The Inkling could be extremely useful for the creative person who gets inspiration anywhere, sometimes in inconvenient places. Just take out paper and start drawing; you'll have a digital copy right away, to do with as you please.

The Wacom Inkling will be available in mid-September, for $199.

This article, written by David Pierce, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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