Here’s a neat concept idea by Jinsun Park, a physical Color Picker. It is kind of like the color picker tool in a paint program, except for physical objects. Though the design won’t work as proposed (for starts, you would need CMYK ink in the pen to be able to draw), it seems like the optical scanner part could be made to work. I think all you would need is a white light source (maybe a selection of different LEDs?) and either a color light sensor or some photocells with light gels on them. Think it would work? Have you already made one? [via core77]

Update: As an anonymous commenter points out, the Sparkfun module I linked to already contains an LED, so you could just use it as-is. If you want to make your own, check out this project.

  • Anonymous
  • Odin

    is the hardest part. How can you combine all of the colors in a satisfactory manner to produce the appropriate results?

    • Andy L

      Perhaps it could work like an ink-jet print head?

      Perhaps it could be made from one?

      • Andy L

        Oh hey.

        Check out US Patent #5440327 “Polychromatic pen for pen plotters with color mixing at media surface”

        I wonder if plotters really use these, and if so, could you get just the pen as a ‘spare part’.

  • Shahar Goldin
  • John Williams

    I believe Benjamin Moore (or some other paint company) recently released a program for the iphone which picks outs colors from photos you take with the iphone’s camera. I think it also gives you the paint chips which best match those colors. I don’t have an iphone, so i’m not going to bother hunting this down, but if anyone finds it online be sure to post the link.

    -John W

  • Lee

    Or you could replace the paper with a Tablet or Wacom and the “writing tip” with a stylus tip.

    Picking up the colour with one end and dropping the colour onto your virtual pallet, so instantly drawing with the colour of the item sitting in front of you.

    Or write an iPhone app for the iPad, and incorp the pen, and you’ll have a winner!

  • beakmyn

    @John W

    I was just thinking something similar. If you or the kids chips the paint on a wall in the. instant touch up.

    Get a chip of paint on your new car? Instant touchup, after you apply a dab of clearcoat to it. Maybe not so much for metallics or pearls but for standard solid colors.


  • Timothymh

    This reminds me of the “I/O Brush” whose video was on Make: TV at one point. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04v_v1gnyO8 and http://web.media.mit.edu/~kimiko/iobrush/

  • Jacek Barcikowski

    Done couple of months ago: http://www.vimeo.com/7487867

  • Anonymous

    A similar project from Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.