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Adobe announces first hardware, the Project Mighty smart stylus and Napoleon ruler

Adobe announces first hardware, the Project Mighty smart stylus and Napoleon ruler

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Adobe has just announced its first hardware initiative, a pressure sensitive stylus and an electronic ruler that will tightly integrate with its software applications. The company's Project Mighty stylus and Napoleon ruler have been showcased connecting to an iPad and iPhone over Bluetooth. The pen works much like existing styli, but when working alongside Napoleon, the two tools can be used to create curved and angled shapes in a way that would be difficult to do with a third-party stylus. So far, the tools have only been demonstrated working with an unreleased app, which Adobe told us was created specifically for the hardware.

Both Project Mighty and Napoleon appear to be small, simple pieces with an aesthetic reminiscent of the white and silver of early iPod models. The stylus has a single button, and the ruler is marked with a series of shapes that can be switched between to alter how the pen is drawing. On the iPad, Napoleon displays lines on the screen which a user can trace, effectively turning the tool into a digital protractor that allows the creation of sharp, specific shapes. The pen's input can be distinguished from human input inside the connected app, allowing users to perform gestures, such as undo, or to have their fingers act as an eraser.

Cloud connection comes to hardware

Adobe is also calling the toolset "cloud connected," but it's unclear if this refers to the stylus itself or to the application that it's working with. The company demonstrated Project Mighty's ability to pull in a user's Creative Cloud content, include drawings and color swatches that they've uploaded to the cloud. The company refers to this integration as coming through cloud hardware built into the pen, but it hasn't explained how this works.

Some hardware details for Project Mighty have been revealed, however. The pen includes a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity, and built-in memory, though full details haven't been announced. These products are both still in development, and while Adobe hasn't committed to producing them, the company certainly sounds interested in bringing the tools to market.

Update: Adobe has clarified several points of the demonstration for us. The application used with Project Mighty and Napoleon is a modified version of the iOS app Adobe Ideas, and the cloud connection works through both the iOS app and the hardware. A user's personal stylus will store their identify and pass it along to a device that it's paired with. The app then uses that information to sync with Creative Cloud, without a user having to input any information.