The Photoshop Pen
As you’ve probably noticed from listening to the Why Didn’t I Think of That? stories, we try to spotlight unique businesses and products that have become, or are becoming, financially successful. Well, one of the great things about running this blog is that I get to explore some cutting-edge technology that screams “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” but at the same time is a little too cutting edge to have really taken off or found a wide consumer base.
Friends are often sending me links to cool gadgets and concepts. And this one I received last night from Los Angeles jewelery designer Megan Bea was just too cool to pass up.
It’s a gadget being called the Creative Scan-and-Draw Color-Changing Pen, and it’s only in preproduction at the moment. But it knocked my socks off.
Designed by Jin Sun Park, the pen is a way for artists and designers to easily draw from real world inspiration. If you’ve ever used the “eyedropper” tool in Photoshop, you can probably guess where this is going.
First, find a color somewhere in the real world that you’d like to duplicate. Hold the tip of the pen up to it and it will scan the color. A little digital display on the back shows you the color you’ve selected, for verification. And then, the pen automatically mixes red, blue, and green ink to create that color. And then? You draw!
It’s a far cry from those Lisa Frank “multi-color” pens of the olden days. But it’s downright cool. Of course, I’m not sure how many designers even use physical pens anymore. But, as I said earlier, the great thing about this is the ability to draw upon real-world inspiration–instantly.
As you can see in the image below, the pen features a color scanner at its tip, a color display on the back, and three color ink cartridges inside, one for each primary color.
How and where the pen actually mixes the ink inside isn’t clear. It’s likely there’s still a patent pending on the invention, so we can’t blame them for keeping the machine’s mechanics under wraps. But however it does what it does, my guess is that it’s small and complicated. But hey, what isn’t these days?
We’re in danger of everything becoming 100% digital. I don’t say danger because it’s a bad thing. But there is still a place in the world for physical books, for pen and ink drawings, for canisters of film, even for the morning newspaper. Rather than fight the unavoidable changes, or abandon our world of physical goods completely, we should embrace the beautiful middle-ground between where we’ve been and where we’re going. Because as exciting as brand new gadgets and software developments are, and as comforting as an old paperback or ballpoint pen are, nothing is quite as thrilling as seeing the old and the new overlap in ways we ourselves never would have thought of.
Yes, I am still talking about a pen. Park’s prototype is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. How much it will end up costing when it sells for retail, I wouldn’t even want to guess. But it’s a shining example of old and new overlapping. More than anything though, it makes me wonder…
A pen that can be any color you want, any color you can see? Why didn’t I think of that?