Adobe ventures into hardware with Mighty stylus and ruler

Adobe ventures into hardware with Mighty stylus and ruler

Summary: Adobe dreams up a bridge to the analogue world.


Adobe is experimenting with a new line of hardware: a slick set of tools that would give the pen, ruler and protractor a place on touchscreen devices.

The company has taken the wraps off project Mighty, a multi-functional stylus. Mighty carries a single button that lets artists select different colours and the drawing instruments, like a pencil, that are available on Creative Cloud.

The pressure-sensitive digital pen would function with an app that Adobe has yet to release, but has demoed on an iPad and iPhone to illustrate some of the cloud functions the stylus supports. The app distinguishes between the pen and a finger, with the latter used to erase unwanted lines. 

Since Mighty carries the identity of the user while digital assets tied to them are stored in the cloud, the pen can be used to invoke the user's assets and tools across multiple devices.

The stylus is only half the hardware picture though and has been designed for use with a short digital ruler, aptly codenamed Napoleon, which help artists draw shapes and straight lines.

2013-05-07 02.03.16 pm
Adobe's Mighty and Napoleon. Image: Adobe.

The pen does not actually rest on the ruler as it would conventionally, but instead projects a controlled line on to the screen which is rendered by following its contours with the stylus. Napoleon can also produce arcs, triangles, or even act as a protractor.

Adobe says the project is just an "exploration in cloud-enabled hardware" at the moment, but it is putting its feelers out for interest from the public and has done a fair amount of groundwork to bring the devices to their current polished state.

In a promotional video, Michael Gough, Adobe's VP of product experience, claims to have been using the devices for the past year.

Topics: Cloud, Hardware, Security, Tablets

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I do not understand how this can this work on work on IPad.

    Styluses on iPad have no precision. Did Adobe find some way to solve the lack of precision on iPad's capacitative-only screen ? If, so, I would like to know how it works.
    I do not understand why Adobe is not going Android, where manufacturers have the possibility to add a pressure-sensitive, resisitive, layer - like Samsung with the Note. (Recently, Adobe even ditched the Android version of Ideas).
    • Ignorance is bliss for certain individuals.

      The iPad- iOS platform has supported active stylus products with high precision capability for sometime. Search for info on the Cregle iPen for more info.

      There are disadvantages to using an active stylus design. Applications need to add support for the products since iOS does not support them intrinsically. Nor does Apple have an active stylus of their own.

      I suspect that the Adobe active ruler and stylus supports their own iOS applications rather than offering an ecosystem wide application support initially. However, just like the iPen from Cregle, other third party apps would be granted use of Proprietary API support code in order to provide support from within their third party apps for these active stylus products.
      • No need to be insulting...

        ... Believe me, I would like to use my IPad for sketching. The pen for iPad I tried from Wacom was far too inprecise. By the way, I checked :
        It does not seem very precise to me (perhaps it is due to the ability of the artist) and it seems you need to add some sensors around your iPad. AND it is not pressure sensitive (when the Wacom- Samsung S-Pen is).
  • A ruler? Seriously?

    If you need a ruler to draw a straight line in any of the Adobe CS apps, you're completely missing the point... Why would Adobe think a ruler would help anybody? Don't they know what their own tools are capable of?
    Chad Royer