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A magnadoodle works, basically, by moving iron filings from the back of cells filled with an opaque liquid, to the front of the cell where the iron filings are visible through a clear plastic (see link for details).
Until now, there hasn't been an automatic way to record the works of art created
in this transitory medium.
The solution to the recording problem is an array of inductors (coils) on a thin plastic substrate that is attached to the back of a standard magnadoodle. Each of the tiny coils is aligned with a cell in the magnadoodle. In turn, each of the coils is electronically switched in to a sensitive, highly accurate metal detector circuit which determines whether the associated cell is "on" (iron filings away from the back of the cell) or "off" (iron filings detected near the back of the cell). Using a USB interface and included software, you can now store an electronic representation of the Magnadoodle display on disk and view it on a monitor any time you wish.
Soon to be available, 3rd party software will enable the Magnadoodle to be used as a digitizer pad.
Pixter. Electronic version of a Magnadoodle.
My apologies. It's noisiest Pixter web page I could find. [Amos Kito, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]
[Amos Kito, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]
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||// The solution to the recording problem is an array of inductors //
1) Too easy
2) Not halfbakery material.
3) This format would require much less hard drive space.
4) Uh, well there is no 4. I was stretching it just to fabricate 1,2 and 3.
||The sensor grid could also detect the magnetic field while you're drawing, like Pixter [link]. Then the PC could duplicate the drawing strokes. It would have enough information to draw vector graphics, the clean scalable shapes used in software like Macromedia Flash. [other link]
I was hoping this idea was for recording sounds onto a magnadoodle. But it's good anyway.
||You are only half done. You forgot to include the ability to replay the stored image back on the Magnadoodle. With a sufficiently speedy mechanism you might even be able to eke some animation out of the thing.
||I did spend some time thinking about that part as I originally wanted to post this with the added feature of real time "instant messaging" type communications ability - Magnadoodle to magnadoodle. I just couldn't think of a good way to draw the filings to the front of the cell without placing something in front and obscuring the view. Some sort of mechanism like a scanner with a one dimensional array of electromagnets was all I could come up with and I didn't like it.
||Operating instructions: To transmit, lie on your stomach. To receive: lie on your back. Of course, I guess those instructions could apply to more than just Magnadoodle messaging . . . .