Innovation award category winner: Scriba shows how to squeeze the best from a digital pen

Finalist in the Creative Industry category: Ergonomic digital pen with unique squeeze motion and months of battery life

David Craig: Scriba is the first product to be created by Dublin Design Studio. Photograph: Conor McCabe

David Craig: Scriba is the first product to be created by Dublin Design Studio. Photograph: Conor McCabe

 

Designing a digital pen for use with tablets is a world away from designing buildings. However, for Dublin-based architect David Craig, the inspiration for Scriba, a smart stylus that is wowing the tech world, came about as he struggled to find a product that would enable him to make quick sketches while on site.

Scriba, which arrived a few months before Apple unveiled its Apple Pencil last year, is the first product to be created by Dublin Design Studio. The company was set up by Craig, a former partner with Burdon Craig Dunne Henry – winner of the competition to design the ill-fated U2 Tower.

The digital pen has a unique squeeze motion, which Mr Craig claims completely changes the way people can interact with tablets. The pinching action promises a wider range of movement than other styluses, allowing users to adjust line weight, opacity or blurs, more smoothly and precisely.

With a standby charge of over six months and hundreds of hours of user time, Scriba is also one of the most reliable devices of its type in terms of battery life.

You’d expect the inventor to sings its praises, but he’s not the only one who’s impressed by the product. As well as being shortlisted for The Irish Times Innovation awards, the pen was a contender for the recent UK Design Week awards, and is in the running for the German Design awards 2017.

Awards

Overall, Dublin Design Studio has been nominated for 11 awards and won a commended prize at the last Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI) awards.

The company behind the pen, which is also busy developing drawing software and a Software Developer Kit (SDK) to allow other developers to integrate with Scriba, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign last July to raise €65,000 to take the product further.

Progress has been relatively swift, with the pen now ready for assembly and delivery to those who originally backed it and set to go into production and onto the market shortly, priced at €79, some €30 cheaper than Apple’s Pencil.

Rather than being concerned about the launch of Apple Pencil, details of which emerged last September, Mr Craig said the company was relieved to hear of its launch.

Edge on Apple

“[Apple’s] focus was on refining a digital pencil and they have done an excellent job of that, whereas our innovation was about moving beyond getting a better tip and focusing on creating a whole new tool for a digital environment,” he said.

“Our battery life is also 10 times that of the Apple Pencil and Scriba is a truly ergonomic product that has been designed around the hand rather than aping previous design so we’re happy that we still have the edge.”

Scriba is designed to work with iOS. However, Dublin Design Studios recently pitched it to Microsoft, which were interested in integrating it to work with the Surface Pro.

“We’re very excited by the prospect of being able to do this and are currently working away at making this happen,” said Mr Craig.

In addition, Cartamundi, a Belgian-based company that manufactures, produces and sells board games, card games, collectible card games, packages and playing cards, has gotten onboard as a manufacturer of the plastic used in Scriba.

According to Mr Craig, the company, which acquired toy and game maker Hasbro’s manufacturing facilities last year, is very much a partner, rather than just a supplier.

“Having them onboard means we are in a safe pair of hands,” said Mr Craig. “They have very much become part of the team and have offered great advice.”

The company has just received initial Scriba moulds from Cartamundi and are aiming for an August launch of the product.

“We are very close to getting to market and are very excited by the prospect of it happening. We can’t wait to see Scriba being widely used,” said Mr Craig.