Closet design software programs that allow home storage professionals to create realistic renderings and design solutions for their clients are readily available. However, even with the plethora of software out there with features such as easy click and drag options and 3D ability along with integration into CRM and manufacturing systems, there are some designers who prefer to do things the “old fashioned” way – by hand.

Whether designing rooms or organizing systems by hand allows for more artistic control or the designer just feels more comfortable than using advanced software, there is one company – iskn, which has developed a way to bring those drawings into the digital world.

Founded in Grenoble, France in 2014, iskn developed the Slate – a smart drawing pad that works in conjunction with a ring sensor placed on an iskn pen, or a compatible brand, to capture its movements. The drawer can use any type of sketchpad or 8-1/2 inch by 11 inch sheet of paper, however the active surface area of the Slate is only approximately 5-3/4 inches by 8-1/4 inches, the company says, and the writing surface has a special coating that holds the paper in place but clips are also available.

The set consists of four components: the Slate – the smart drawing surface, the Ring – the movement tracking magnetic device that slips on pens, pencils, markers and calligraphy pens; the iskn pen that requires no batteries or electronics and has a built-in Ring, and Clips that allow the user to attach the Slate for more security.

How it works

The process is relatively simple. The designer draws an image with their favorite pen enhanced by the magnet ring or the iskn pen. Approximately 32 magnetometers track the position, orientation and tilt angle of the ring in 3D space with high precision. Then Slate generates a rending through the use of the Imagink application, available as an iOS app for the iPhone and iPad and the recent launch of a new version for PC and Mac users. The images are digitized and the designer is able to enhance and share in a variety of formats including video.

The Imagink tool features include:
Sketching: pencil and ballpoint pen
Inking: round marker and calligraphy pen
Coloring: acrylic paintbrush and airbrush
Erasing: blend or erase – the eraser becomes a real tool for creating

The parameters of each tool are adapted to its real-life characteristics (color, size, opacity, speed, smoothing, etc.) for a more realistic rendering, the company says. The user also can choose the grain and paper color.

After the images have been enhanced in the app, they can be shared and exported in five file formats: .png, .jpg., mp4, .psd and .svg.

After a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 where it reached approximately 988 percent of its target goal with nearly 2,400 backers pledging $346,000, Iskn was launched in February 2014 by a team specializing in electronic engineering and user experience and it’s mission is to combine the natural experience of tangible tools with the power of digital technology.

“We are at the dawn of a paradigm shift , where the border between the digital world and the physical/ material world is opening up and allowing for simple, creative interaction on between the two worlds,” Jean-Luc Vallejo, CEO of iskn, said on the company’s web site.

According to the company, its technology is based on 20 patents and over 70 years of research and expertise in magnetism at the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). iskn says its patented technology will soon be integrated into many devices with multiple applications.

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