While the Apple Pencil is designed as a sketching tool for creative professionals, MacRumors reader Simon Gladman has created three Swift demo apps that show the accessory being used for three unconventional purposes -- as a weight scale, controlled synthesizer and 3D controller for image editing.

PencilScale


PencilScale, based on Goodman's Plum-O-Meter, is an experimental app that uses a homemade harness to turn the Apple Pencil into an electronic scale that is highly sensitive, but not incredibly accurate.

The experiment works by subtracting the touch's force from a base weight, which is "set as the current touch force when the 'zero' button is pressed," and multiplying it by 140 for a very rough weight in grams.

PencilSynth


PencilSynth is an AudioKit-powered synthesizer that can be controlled by the Apple Pencil depending on its orientation and position.

  • Apple Pencil's horizontal position on the screen controls frequency

  • Apple Pencil's vertical position on the screen controls the modulating multiplier

  • Apple Pencil's altitude angle controls the carrier multiplier

  • Apple Pencil's azimuth angle controls the modulation index

PencilController


PencilController is an experimental image processing app that uses the Apple Pencil as a controller for the fine setting of parameters on Core Image filters.

The demo has three image filtering modes:

  • Hue/Saturation - Apple Pencil's azimuth angle controls hue and its altitude angle controls the saturation

  • Brightness/Contrast - Apple Pencil's altitude angle along North/South controls contrast and the angle along West/East controls brightness

  • Gamma/Exposure - Apple Pencil's altitude angle along North/South controls exposure and the angle along West/East controls gamma

Gladman explains that "the app uses a spring loaded pattern, so the user needs to hold down one of the mode keys in the bottom left of the screen to stay in the filtering mode."

The source code for all three projects is available on GitHub.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forums: iPad, iPad Accessories

Top Rated Comments

FlexMonkey Avatar
74 months ago
I know this is sounds cool. But come on guys I'm tired of hearing this non-sense use of technology. There is abviously a much better device for such thing and it doesn't cost a lot of money to have one. I'm talking about the scale and somebody did it on iPhone 6S 3D Touch too. It's because you can it doesn't mean you have too.
Hi!

I'm actually the same guy that did the "Plum-O-Meter" for weighing things on an iPhone :)

Of course there are better devices, but I'm interested in experimenting, tinkering and playing then seeing what results. Actually, using the Pencil as a controller works really well for the fine adjustments in the image processing app and the fact the it has five degrees of freedom makes it a unique input device for the audio app.

Without some left field thinking, we'd all be using abacuses!

Cheers!

Simon
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Waxhead138 Avatar
74 months ago
Aren't the phrases "Highly Sensitive" and "Not Incredibly Accurate" a bad combination under pretty much any circumstance?

.....As a side note, those two phrases remind me of almost every girlfriend I've ever had, the first phrase typically causing the second.... ;)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
teslo Avatar
74 months ago
I know this is sounds cool. But come on guys I'm tired of hearing this non-sense use of technology. There is abviously a much better device for such thing and it doesn't cost a lot of money to have one. I'm talking about the scale and somebody did it on iPhone 6S 3D Touch too. It's because you can it doesn't mean you have too.
yeah, why would anyone ever want to do things?

i, for one, am witnessing exactly what i'd hope would start happening upon the release of a new device: tinkering, feedback, and constructive criticism. i'm sorry you're tired, i hear energy drinks are all the rage nowadays.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Makosuke Avatar
74 months ago
Aren't the phrases "Highly Sensitive" and "Not Incredibly Accurate" a bad combination under pretty much any circumstance?
Nope, from a scientific terminology perspective, that actually makes perfect sense.

Accuracy, scientifically speaking, is how close to the real value a measurement will produce.

Precision (aka sensitivity) is how small of a quantity you can measure, accurately or otherwise.

And repeatability is how close to the same value taking the same measurement at two different times will produce, accurately, precisely, or otherwise.

So: An accurate scale will tell you something weighs 502 grams when it weighs 502 grams. A precise scale will tell you that something weighs 498.93 grams, although it might actually weigh 502.00 grams if the scale is not also accurate. And a repeatable (and precise) scale will tell you that something weighs 498.93 grams every time you weigh it, although if it's not also accurate it might really weigh 502 grams.

This particular "scale", silly or otherwise, will give you a lot of digits of precision on the weight measurement, so it's quite precise. It however isn't calibrated at all, so the accuracy is bad. No idea whether it's repeatable or not.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
74 months ago
Think what you could do with 3 pencils! You could control that synthesizer with one, and jam the other 2 in your ears until the racket stops.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
joueboy Avatar
74 months ago
I know this is sounds cool. But come on guys I'm tired of hearing this non-sense use of technology. There is abviously a much better device for such thing and it doesn't cost a lot of money to have one. I'm talking about the scale and somebody did it on iPhone 6S 3D Touch too. It's because you can it doesn't mean you have too.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
youtube premium lite

YouTube Tests Cheaper 'Premium Lite' Subscription for Ad-Free Viewing

Monday August 2, 2021 3:22 am PDT by
YouTube is piloting a new cheaper subscription tier in Europe called "Premium Lite," which offers ad-free viewing minus YouTube Premium's other features. First spotted by a user on ResetEra and subsequently confirmed by Google, the "Lite" plan means users who aren't interested in offline downloads or background playback can still enjoy YouTube videos on web and mobile app without being...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
COVID19 Digital Wallet Apple Wallet

Australian Government Now Offering COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificates for Apple Wallet

Monday August 2, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
The Australian government has introduced support for adding COVID-19 vaccination digital certificates to Apple Wallet via the Express Plus Medicare app on iOS. Image credit: Tap Down Under As spotted by Tap Down Under, users who have received two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine now have access to the digital certificate through their Medicare online account or via the Medica...