Collusion – bridging the gap between iPad and Paper: What I know thus far

After you have had a look at this be sure to check out my latest posts on Collusion for all the updates on the best stylus for the iPad..

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After attending the Beta Backers Party last night and writing up my initial thoughts on Collusion and the wonderful new stylus for iPads I thought I should do a second post this evening throwing together some of the juicy details that I was able to find out from the Collusion team about just what we can expect from the final product.

So here is what I managed to find out from the guys last night 🙂 enjoy and if you have any questions that you would like to know more on pop a comment here and I can ask the team at the next Beta Backers Party and be sure to check out the project on Kickstarter:

    • How large will the canvas be?
      Any single canvas will be very large in size, there will be a practical size limit but it will be very large.


    • Will the Collusion App for iPad work over 3G as well as WiFi?
      Yes it will, the team is currently working on putting together optimisations to help minimise the impact of the inherent unreliability/volatility of 3G connections.


    • Will the hardware device and pen be available in Black and White to those that have backed the project on Kickstarter?
      I was told this was dependant on two factors, firstly there needs to be at least 2000 backers on KickStarter as the batches will be in 1000 lots. The second requirement is that there would be roughly a 50/50 split of people that wanted black vs white.


    • Will there be an API available for other iPad apps to use the pen interface?
      As per the FAQ: The hardware API will not be opened. Once the fundamentals of the collusion platform are downpat (post V1) they will consider opening the software platform via API.


    • Why havent you used dropbox or [insert online service here]?
      Collusion’s cloud integrates both storage and real time collaboration – these elements have been optimised to work together to form the worlds fastes cloud collaboration service, whereas 3rd party cloud storage is simply that, its a different tool entirely.


    • Will an Android version be available?
      Not at this stage but “watch this space”!


    • Will there be another Beta Backers Party?
      Yep in a couple of weeks time (keep an eye on the Kickstarter project for details).


    • Will I be able to work offline?
      Yes, the specific method of how this will be achieved is still under development.


  • A bit behind the technology of the pen itself:
    • It uses ultrasonic sound and two microphones together with simple trigonometry to know where the pen is on your iPad screen.
    • The drawings, strokes, and lines you create are each individually stored as vector images. I will let you ponder the awesomeness of that yourselves


So thats it, I hope some of you find that useful, I will try to find out as much as I can each time there is a Beta Backers Party and look forward to seeing some of you there.


Collusion – bridging the gap between iPad and Paper: My first thoughts…

After you have had a look at this be sure to check out my latest posts on Collusion for all the updates on the best pen for the iPad..

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I use my iPad all day, every day. However, one thing that the iPad sorely lacks is the ability to use a medium of input that we have had engrained in our lives since primary school… the humble pen. There are many different iPad stylus solutions around today, but none that I have used have offered any remote level of accurate input or natural “it just feels like using a pen” feeling that I want to get out of my iPad.

I have just come home from the first Beta Backers Party with the team from Collusion and I have some great news for anyone that owns an iPad. I have tried out the prototype and can say that the team at Collusion have thought long and hard about this problem and come up with an ingenious and extremely effective solution to bring natural pen input to the iPad.

Tonight, at the Beta Backers Party I used Collusion App and pen and my first response was “No WAY!!! That is INSANE!”. I thought the concept was great before using the device but after having a play I could not believe how well the concept has been executed. I can also happily say that the money I have put in to back the project on kickstarter has been well invested.

My likes:

  • Speed of input was spectacular and the input from the pen that was recorded was extremely accurate (even when writing small text)
  • I could write naturally with my palm resting on the iPad while writing without causing unwanted input
  • Drawing was great fun and the ability to draw diagrams, along side annotating text was a VERY welcome feature
  • The collaboration feature where we had three people writing on the one canvas while syncing with the cloud and the other iPads in the room, worked brilliantly and gave a whole new aspect to playing tic-tac-toe
  • The concepts behind the app for the iPad itself have been well thought out and although the app was a three month old prototype you could see the potential (see below)

My dislikes:

  • Unfortunately we could only see a three month old prototype of the app (however there is a very valid reason for this please see below) so there were the occasional glitches which have all been addressed and a couple of quirks here and there which are not present in the as-yet unseen version of the app
  • Regardless of the above… I want one NOW!!!

What we saw this evening:

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Tonight the team showed us a prototype of the software that was put together by a single developer in six weeks and this was done three months ago. The reason we were unable to see the latest release of the app is due to new shiny version not quite being ready for prime time the team wants to make sure it 100% right before showing off all the bells and whistles.

Robert and Nav were there however Surmeet is at home resting up with the flu so couldn’t be there. However both Robert and Nav were extremely helpful and were able to answer MANY MANY MANY questions that I had regarding the device, what it will be like on final production and some of the upcoming features of the app.

I was able to try out the collaborative “canvas” feature of the application and saw real time synchronising to the cloud and other iPad’s in the same room.

While I can’t tell you EVERYTHING I found out about the Collusion app right here right now (waiting to hear back on what information I *can* say… I can tell you that on final release it is going to be EPIC and even from seeing the original three month old prototype I would have no hesitation in starting to work with the prototype tomorrow. So I am excited to think of just how streamlined the Collusion app will be on public release.

If you have any questions flick them through and I will be more than happy to pose them to the team when I next poke and prod them. If you have an iPad and you are in Sydney keep an eye out on the Kickstarter project as I hear there will be another chance to meet the team in a couple of weeks. I would *highly* recommend you come on down and have a try of the hardware and app in person as you will be blown away.

So to sum up:

  • Is it real: YES
  • Is it FINALLY the bridge between paper and iPad: YES
  • Is it coming: It most definitely is and I personally can’t wait


Proactive Information Exchange – A new term I have coined…

Communicate early and communicate often… In the current environment that we live in where we barely have time to stop and smell the roses this is an often forgotten vital point… Last night I was pondering this and came up with the concept of PIE, a.k.a. Proactive Information Exchange. It appears there are a few Google hits for it however I simply plucked it out of my brain last night and realised it is kind of a motto that I live by in my working life.

The concept of PIE or proactive information exchange is relatively simple. As I recently put it on a twitter status update:

... #PIE AKA #ProactiveInformationExchange to share knowledge to prevent #ShitHittingFans

So when you are working consider practicing the concept of PIE it really helps foster effective, and most importantly, early communication. Share your knowledge early in the hope that it can prevent someone running into issues you have faced in the past.

OOH and a massive thanks also go to @Rubenerd and his recent blog post for putting the word out.

/grabs a slice of PIE