Saturday, June 29, 2013


Did Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence on his iPad using a plain old stylus? Did Jane Austen compose her novels with her fingers on her Nexus's screen? Of course not! Cheap styli for use with touchscreen devices are a dime a dozen, but they lack elegance. My solution: the iPlume.

Making your own stylus for a tablet with a capacitive screen is absurdly easy. You want a soft (so you don't scratch your screen), conductive tip such as a bit of kitchen sponge and a conductor which connects that tip to you. The form doesn't really matter. It could be an armored gauntlet, a door key with a sponge stuffed through the hole, or a bit of ScotchBrite held with a set of metal tongs. I used a quill.

Though one can use a sponge, I didn't. I got a bunch of dirt-cheap styli off of Amazon (took a few weeks to get here from China, but the cost me pennies each) and pulled off the conductive rubber ends. The black rubber struck me as classier than ScotchBrite yellow. I prepped the quill by snipping off the tip to a point where it was a little narrower than the rubber end. I wrapped some brass wire around the shaft of the feather as a conductor, stretched the cup-shaped rubber tip over the end, and used a few drops of superglue to secure everything in place. Works absurdly well.