I/O Brush is a new drawing tool to explore colors, textures, and movements found in everyday materials by “picking up” and drawing with them. I/O Brush looks like a regular physical paintbrush but has a small video camera with lights and touch sensors embedded inside. Outside of the drawing canvas, the brush can pick up color, texture, and movement of a brushed surface. On the canvas, artists can draw with the special “ink” they just picked up from their immediate environment.

In our current prototype, the brush houses a small CCD video camera in its tip with a ring of white LEDs around it. Force sensors are also embedded inside of the brush, measuring the pressure that is getting applied to the bristles. When the brush touches a surface, the lights around the camera briefly turn on to provide supplemental light for the camera. During that time, the system grabs the frames from the camera and stores them in the program.

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