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An Innovative Pen That Lets You "Borrow the Colors Around You"

Familiar with the Photoshop tool called the eye dropper, which gives an artist the power to pull colors from any background? Mashable recently shared a product called the Scribble Pen that brings that color-matching ability to the real world, using a sensor and advanced internal ink-mixing technology.

As demonstrated in the promo video above, Scribble Pen users press a button while the top of the pen is pressed against an object. When the RGB sensor picks up on a color, the "smart micro pump" inside the pen combines lightfast, water-resistant inks to match what the sensor sees. Then, the ink flows from one of the pen's three available tips. The device is rechargeable and has an advertised battery life of around seven hours. Another model, the Scribble Pen Stylus for tablets, lasts up to 15 hours.

As Mashable and CNET point out, there was a bit of controversy surrounding the technology when it first surfaced back in 2014. After its initial launch on Kickstarter, disgruntled backers learned that they had supported a project that only existed as a concept. Kickstarter gave the team behind Scribble 24 hours to produce a video that showed a working prototype. They declined and moved the project to another crowdfunding site called Tilt. There, they were met with the same criticism and the campaign was canceled. Scribble managed to raise over $594,000 before the cancelations, according to Mashable, but the backers were refunded.

According to information on Scribble's website, the company now has working products to offer—but some are still cautious. "I'm going to remain skeptical until I try one out myself," Mashable product analyst Raymond Wong wrote. "The Scribble Pen sounds amazing, but I've been let down by too many cool ideas that are just that, a cool idea."

You can pre-order the Scribble Pen for $249 and the Scribble Pen Stylus for $119 on the company's site.

Banner image via Scribble on YouTube

[h/t Mashable]

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iStock
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Art
The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
iStock
iStock

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Tessa Angus
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Art
Surprising Sculptures Made From Fallen Feathers
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire is a British sculptor with an unusual medium: feathers. Her surreal, undulating works often take the form of installations—the feathers spilling out of a drain, a stove, a crypt wall—or stand-alone sculptures in which antique bell jars, cabinets, or trunks contain otherworldly shapes.

MccGwire developed her obsession with feathers after moving to a studio barge on the Thames in 2006, as she explains in a video from Crane.tv recently spotlighted by Boing Boing. The barge was near a large shed full of feral pigeons, whose feathers she would spot on her way to work. "I started picking them up and laying them out, collecting them," she remembers. "And after about two weeks I had like 300 feathers." At the time, concerns about bird flu were rife, which made the feathers seem "dangerous as well as beautiful."

When not supplied by her own next-door menagerie, the feathers for her artwork come from a network of racing pigeon societies all over the UK, who send her envelopes full every time the birds molt. Farmers and gamekeepers also send her fallen feathers from birds such as magpies, pheasants, and roosters.

The cultural associations around birds are a big part of what inspires MccGwire. “The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility," she told ArtNews in 2013, "but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon—which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest.”

The same duality is present in her own work, which she frequently shares on her Instagram account. “I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

You can see some pictures of MccGwire's work, and watch the video from Crane.tv, below.

Kate MccGwire's installation "Evacuate"
Evacuate, 2010
J Wilde

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Convolous"
Convolous, 2015
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's installation "Gyre"
Gyre, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Gag"
Gag, 2009
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Writhe"
Writhe, 2010
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Quell"
Quell, 2011
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Taunt"
Taunt, 2012
Tessa Angus

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