In the world of Chromebooks, it’s not every day that I sit back and get to really marvel at cutting-edge tech. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chromebooks and what I can get done on them, but manufacturers aren’t generally putting the latest, greatest innovations into laptops with Chrome OS. While that’s fine and that’s the lane Chromebooks occupy, I still get very excited when a new tech I’ve never personally seen is being shown off working with a Chromebook.
Ufro has been around for a little over 7 years at this point and has partnered with the likes of Lenovo and Pantone to help push forward their unique and incredible technology. With their first big hardware release of the ColorPillar in 2017, Ufro brought the world of real color capture to a pen. Via bluetooth and special sensors on the pen, the ColorPillar has the ability to touch any surface, map the color, and deliver that same color onto the screen you are writing on.
Though this pen looks to only work with iOS and iPadOS, it is only a starting point for understanding where the company is headed next. You see, Ufro’s unique technology isn’t really in the pen, but in the color sensor on the back. This sensor is what allows Ufro-equipped pens to detect the color of just about any object and translate that to a digital color space. And that awesome tech is on the way to USI pens, too.
That’s right, according to Pete Mueller, USI Chairman, Ufro is in the process of bringing their color-sensing tech to the USI community and already has a few working prototypes and examples of them working on Chromebooks. Just like we see in the video above, USI pens that choose to equip Ufro’s technology will have the same ability to simply touch a surface and render it immediatley on the screen. On a Chromebook! Check it out below.
There’s still work to be done, but in an email from Jeremy Shu (Ufro’s founder), we’ve learned that as the technology is integrated properly into the USI standard and Google makes the proper adjustments on the Chrome OS side of things, we should see USI pens with this tech hitting the market in 12-18 months.
One of the big benefits of USI and the abilities it possesses is the fact that in the second video above, the colors are being passed from the real world to the screen with no need of a Bluetooth connection. The same instant connection that currently drives USI input on Chromebooks will simply work to pass the info from the pen to the device. It honestly looks a bit like magic, and that’s really what the best tech should do, right?
We’re looking forward to getting a few of these pens it to test and, again, can’t overstate how awesome this all looks in practice. Ufro clearly has some pretty amazing tech on its hands and the fact that it looks like they will licnese this sensor to other USI pen makers is even more encouraging. After all, the second video above is actually a Waltop pen using the Ufro sensors, so they are already off to a solid start on partnerships. As we learn more and get some samples, we’ll be sure to share.