Virtual reality (VR) is utilised for product design and enables artists and engineers to create and fine-tune designs in three dimensions, without paying for repetitive real-life prototype development. Art and design company Wacom has come up with a new stylus version with functions such as pressure sensitivity that tablets tend to have. It can be activated within a virtual reality environment in mid-air.

Virtual reality is widely used by companies that manufacture large products such as automobiles and aircraft but has not been utilised as a consumer-grade entertainment option. Designers benefit from the capability of being to go around three-dimensional modules for the purpose of examining them. They can look at prototypes that are present on a computer.

From 2D to 3D

Wacom, a company recognised for its range of sophisticated design tools, has put in efforts for researching stylus and tablet technology methods. The technology which is designed fundamentally for functioning in 2D is to be transferred into a 3D environment where designers and artists use identical techniques.

During CES 2019 Wacom and Magic Leap’s demo was showcased to utilise virtual reality hardware as a competent design tool. Users noticed some workflow issues back then as they had to hold drawing tablets and a Wacom stylus for manipulating three-dimensional objects that floated in mid-air. Wacom needed to make some improvements to make its technology more usable with VR. The company’s latest offering, the new VR Pen, comes with certain upgrades implemented over the conventional 2D stylus.

Offering

All details regarding the Wacom VR Pen have not been disclosed yet. The company is now showcasing its hardware to increase its chances of software developers opting for its offering once it goes on sale. It will gain software support instead of just a hardware component lacking real-world usability.

The Wacom VR Pen works with the drawing tablets offered by the company and is able to detect strokes when a user lifts it off a desk and uses it in mid-air. It looks similar to a conventional Wacom stylus going into a wobbly desk. The Wacom VR Pen utilises a built-in gyroscope for motion detection. Currently, there is no information regarding the number of required sensors within a room. However, the company has said that its system will function with most widely-available head-mounted virtual reality displays.

More benefits

The Wacom only uses customisable shortcut buttons to help artists gain freedom from always being near a computer keyboard. Along with this benefit, it also enables pressure sensitivity. Artists can generate thicker strokes or instantly apply effects by pressing a stylus harder due to the sensitive touch. The Wacom VR Pen has pressure sensitivity mainly on the stylus tip. This means that users can squeeze a stylus tip with different amounts of force to modify their strokes instead of just pressing harder on a surface. A scroll wheel featuring a button is also present in the bulge of the VR Pen, which enables quick settings and tools accessibility within the VR environment itself.

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