Wacom’s Inkling is a whole new type of gadget—a drawing tablet minus the tablet. Its purpose is to let you write or sketch on plain paper with an ordinary pen, and still get perfect digital copies of your work. Up until this point, Wacom has manufactured its traditional Intuos tablets, which require you to keep your eyes trained on your monitor, and its Cintiq monitors which let you draw directly on your software work surface. Tablets are far cheaper but require some tricky hand-eye coordination, and the Cintiq line is priced out of reach for most people. Either way, Wacom has made a name for itself with digital artists because of its input devices’ sensitivity and responsiveness, and have become the de facto tools of the trade.
The case also holds four spare refills and a mini USB cable
Now the company is trying something new. The Inkling is designed to track a pen and recreate its movements on a computer. The unit consists of a cigarette-lighter-sized receiver that clips onto the top of your paper and a ball-point pen “stylus” much larger than most pens. The receiver tracks the stylus using infrared and ultrasonic sensors.
A PR handout photo of the Inkling in action
Our test unit came with two identical black refills. We were hoping for a few different sizes or types, but even Wacom’s refill packs are all 1 mm “M” sized, and black. These aren't proprietary to the Inkling though; you'll be able to buy other colours at most stationary or art supply stores. You’ll also have to be careful how you hold the pen and paper. Direct line of sight is needed between the pen and receiver, so fingers, rulers and other stationery can’t get in the way. Direct sunlight can also affect accuracy.
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