Leading digital graphics and input company Wacom has launched an ambitious new project that aims to universalize digital ink across platforms and devices. Project WILL (Wacom Ink Layer Language) wants to codify digital inking around a single digital standard that will ignore any boundaries set by things like OS, hardware and cloud platforms upon current digital inking methods.
So what the hell does that mean? Basically, it’s like Wacom is trying to do what HTML did for the web, but with digital ink instead. That would mean that you could conceivably create ink-based content in an application like Photoshop, and then have that information recognized, read and understood by, say, a collaboration app from a completely different developer on iOS. This could work between drawing apps, but also be used to translate signatures across software, recognize handwritten notes in various applications, and facilitate group collaboration on the same project from multiple endpoints.
WILL will be made available as a set of APIs within an SDK, and supports not only Wacom pen input, but also third-party pens and styli, as well as finger-based input. It’ll incorporate secure certificate signing for identity authentication, as well, but Wacom is positioning it as a new standard for the digital expression of human creativity.
A new common language around digital ink is a weird concept to wrap your head around, but in practice, it could provide a lot of benefits to anyone working with graphics tablets, or with finger-based input in both desktop and mobile operating systems. WILL is in its very early stages, but once it starts to sign some partners, we should get a better idea of the kind of potential it holds.