Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Magna-doodle tablet PC

a simplified tablet PC design
 
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This is a tablet PC design where the tablet is solely an input device. You have a magnetic pen to write on a surface, somewhat like an magna-doodle. When you write, the motions are also sent to the main computer. The magnetic pen pulls iron filing to the top of the screen, or maybe it attracts static-sensitve plastic molecules. Something real engineery like that. So, you see what you wrote, mechanically.

If the magnets are a problem, you could have the tablet sit away from the computer, like current wacom tablets. Or, if it's possible to use something more electronic-friendly, like static electricty to move the grains, then you can have the actual tablet PC.

When you fill one screen, simply press a button to blank the screen, or shake vigorously.

The benefit of this design is that the tablet is simpler, and doesn't require a lot of electricity to run.

It also improves on existing tablet designs in that it gives you some feedback *on the tablet itself*. Some wacom tablets are just writing surfaces -- they don't show you what you've drawn. That shows up elsewhere, on like the monitor.

You can also have the computer 'write' to the tablet. You need either a matrix of magnets or static electricity guns on the back of the tablet to repel the grains to the front of the screen. With this setup, you wouldn't need to shake the screen to clear it.

lawpoop, Nov 20 2003

Etch-A-Sketch http://www.etch-a-sketch.com/
"Possibly the world's first laptop" [lawpoop, Oct 04 2004]

Magna-doodle explanation http://www.howstuff...om/magna-doodle.htm
just read the darn link. [lawpoop, Oct 04 2004]

enotate from Informal Software http://www.informal.com
Enable your PDA stylus to act like a pen directly on PC or web documents [phlogiston, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       Have a bun for trying to make Dilburt comics come to life [+]
Letsbuildafort, Nov 20 2003
  

       This talbet sits far enough away from the computer that it wouldn't matter. You could also use static electricity instead of straight-up magnetism.
lawpoop, Nov 20 2003
  

       "Fujitsu Stylistic Tablet PC"   

       Yeah, and about 50 times the price.
lawpoop, Nov 20 2003
  

       My definition is that a tablet PC is a PC with a tablet. Thus, a wacom tablet hooked up to a PC is , to me at least, a tablet PC.
lawpoop, Nov 20 2003
  

       Fine for non-contextual input, but there's no means for output.   

       By the way, in the mid-90's - when the Internet was getting popular and people were rediscovering the benefits of centralized computing - a number of companies reintroduced "dumb terminals". A few of these were tablet-like. Not unlike your idea, sans the particulate.
phoenix, Nov 20 2003
  

       I think it wouldn't be too hard to do output on the screen. It would be something like current LCD screens -- you just need a matrix of magnets or static electricity guns on the back of the tablet to repel the grains to the front of the screen.
lawpoop, Nov 23 2003
  
      
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