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
89 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
89 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
89 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
89 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
89 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
89 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)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple

iPhone 15 'Ultra' Could Replace Pro Max Model Next Year

Sunday September 25, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple is gearing up to possibly replace its "Pro Max" iPhone with an all-new "Ultra" iPhone 15 model next year, reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for the iPhone 15, Apple is planning a revamped design alongside USB-C and a potential name change. Apple could replace its "Pro Max" branding, which it started to use...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...