ISKN’s Smart Sketching Surface Works Amazingly Well

I’ve written about ISKN in the past. It’s a simple slate that tracks your pen and paper sketches. It transforms your drawings into vectorial images in real time. The company just snatched $2 million in funding from Partech Ventures, CEA Investments, Kima Ventures and Pascal Cagni. But more importantly, ISKN works shockingly well.

When I first met the ISKN team last year, I couldn’t stop praising it to my colleagues. It is an incredibly useful interface device with a lot of potential. But Darrell wasn’t convinced by my secondhand pitch. Today at CES, the ISKN team was demoing its product. And it turns out that Darrell now can’t stop telling me how great ISKN is.

It’s simple, ISKN doesn’t sound that different from other drawing solutions. But it takes 2 minutes to get convinced when you see the thing. It wrote a few words again today, and the instant feedback on the iPad screen is very gratifying.

Behind the scene, the technology is very different from Wacom tablets and Livescribe pens. You just need to put a magnet ring around your pen, and the slate will figure out where your pen is in real time. And because it’s so precise, the slate will communicate a vector image to your tablet or computer. It makes it much easier to tweak the image later in Illustrator.

But drawing is just one thing. Because ISKN knows the axe of the pen in real time, you can see many potential applications. For example, you can move the camera around a 3D model by just by inclining your pen.

The company has been growing quite a lot and there are now 16 people working on the product. The last Kickstarter backers will receive the slate in the coming weeks, and people can pre-order it on the company’s website as well. With today’s funding news, the company seems to be on the right track.

Co-founder and COO Timothée Jobert also told me that ISKN is talking with potential third-party developers to integrate with popular apps. There is nothing to announce just yet. But I would definitely keep an eye on this interesting startup.

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Photo credit: Darrell Etherington