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CES 2013: Drawing on creativity without touching your tablet

January 07, 2013|By Michelle Maltais

It's almost a parent's dream -- being able to let the kids color on a surface without endangering the walls or furniture. 

Griffin Technologies and Crayola are releasing a lightweight marker-like stylus called the Crayola Light Marker that translates a young artist's creativity from hand to iPad. 

The battery-powered color wand has a glowing tip and doesn't even require contact with the virtual page. (Again, the dream of the anal-retentive parent!) It's all virtual. The iPad's front-facing camera interprets the motions being drawn in the air and showcases them on the screen. 

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"We take pride in developing new and exciting technology for young artists," said Mark Rowan, president of Griffin Technology, in a statement. "Crayola Light Marker allows children to create digital works of art in a totally new and colorful way that has never been done before." 

The pen is accompanied by an app that comprises activities such as Dot to Dot, Paint Splatter, Coloring Pages, Puzzles, Hide ‘N Seek, and Free Draw. (Free Draw is shown in the video.) 

Crayola Light Marker will be available at select retailers this spring for $29.99, and the Light Marker app will be available free from Apple’s App Store. It is compatible with second-generation iPads and beyond. 

"The new Crayola Light Marker is a wonderful example of Crayola's creative play in the digital landscape," said Warren Schorr, head of Crayola Licensing, in a statement.  

Though I personally would appreciate pristine walls when my own exuberant junior Picasso gets creative, to me, it just feels as if there's a little something missing from the visceral experience of coloring: the smell of the medium -- whether crayon, marker or paint -- the dense feel of the implement in hand, applying different pressure to alter the result, and the tell-tale smudges on fingers and faces.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I believe, at the very least, contact with the canvas seems mandatory to exploring creative expression. Maybe getting your hands -- and walls -- a little dirty isn't overrated. 

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Follow me on Twitter @mmaltaisLAT.

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