Last November, Scott Wilson turned to Kickstarter to gin up enough cash to produce his TikTok and LunaTik wristbands, which turn the iPod Nano into a sleek, wearable watch. Co.Design broke the story, and the rest, as they say, is history: The designer raised about $1 million, exceeding his own expectations and breaking Kickstarter records for speed and amount of funding. Suddenly, retailers came calling, even Apple, which had passed on Wilson’s original proposal. Wilson’s astounding success has left many wondering what he’d come up with next. Now we know: a dual-mode pen that travels seamlessly from paper to touch screen.Last time around, Wilson launched the product as a solo project, making the Kickstarter video by himself on a quiet Sunday. This time, he involved his Chicago-based studio, Minimal, from the outset. "I wanted them to have the experience of doing it, of learning how to do this stuff," he says. "It’s amazing how much more effort it takes, the more people who get involved." But he says that including more players also means that the "fidelity is better."
The LunaTik Touch Pen is the first stylus with a pen integrated into its tip. "We work between Moleskins and the iPad quite a bit and have to juggle having a stylus and a pen," Wilson says. "It was, like, ‘Why don’t we just combine them?’ And then we were like, ‘Well, why hasn’t anyone combined them?" To his surprise, although there are plenty of writing utensils with a pen on one end and a stylus on the other, none has a ballpoint that extends through the rubber nib of the stylus. Once he figured out the material science and mechanics that would achieve the right amount of conductivity for a touch screen, Wilson submitted a patent for the design.
The pen has all of the subtle, refined touches we’ve come to expect from Wilson, who has provided creative services for such companies as Nike, Microsoft, Google, and Steelcase. The body, made from aircraft-grade aluminum (although a plastic version is available as well), houses a gel-ink rollerball cartridge (which can be replaced with readily available refills), and the silicone tip has been calibrated to glide smoothly across a touch screen.
Wilson and his team are launching the pen on Kickstarter today with the hope of raising $75K in two months. That will give them enough time to work out the remaining kinks and update their supporters along the way, because, Wilson says, "one of the things we learned from the first time around was that people really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes journey."
A $30 pledge buys a plastic two-pack or one silver aluminum pen; check out Kickstarter for additional pledge levels and offerings.