04 Jul 2016 | 09.48 am
Architect Reinvents Stylus For iPad Applications
Scriba uses a novel pressure system
04 Jul 2016 | 09.48 am
David Craig has an eye for design, which extends from crafting buildings over 100 metres high to fashioning a five-inch iPad stylus. He co-founded Craig Henry Architects in 1999 and in 2003, along with Burdon and Dunne Architects, the business won the design competition for the ‘U2 Tower’ overlooking the Liffey. The economic collapse contrived to shelve that scheme and the construction industry stasis convinced Craig to retool his career.
“I have always been interested in design and technology and felt that there could be a good synergy in product design,” says Craig (pictured). He settled on designing a new stylus for iPads, called Scriba.
Craig (42) founded Dublin Design Studio in 2014 to focus on Scriba. The stylus looks something like a miniature, loosely-strung violin bow, with the ‘string’ side curved and folded, and a round nib on the end. Users can thicken line weight and change the stylus’s functions by squeezing the curvy side, lending it a wide range of movement.
Craig says that Scriba can also integrate with apps to provide haptic feedback and has a battery that can last ten times longer than those of rival styluses.
“Scriba really evolved through laborious testing and I think that we are now at nearly 200 3D-printed prototypes,” he says. “This technology enabled us to make, test and refine iterative prototypes on a level that was never possible before.
“Familiarity with 3D modelling and CAD meant that it didn’t take long for me to develop a 3D mock-up. For people who don’t have a similar background, there are some fantastic free tools available, including Fusion 360 by Autodesk.”
Craig launched through a Kickstarter campaign in 2015, which raised over €65,000 in pre-sales. “We are taking pre-orders on our website and are working towards a product launch, which Bank of Ireland has offered to support.” The Scriba costs €79 via the website.
Securing a patent for Scriba is ongoing, says Craig. “At the moment, having a patent pending feels more like an insurance policy rather than a tangible benefit. The patent process is long and expensive, but I have found that patent lawyers are very upfront in advising whether they believe a patent application is worth pursuing.”
Scriba is manufactured and assembled in Waterford by Cartamundi, the manufacturing wing of Hasbro. The design for manufacture was supported by engineers in Athlone Institute of Technology, while Enterprise Ireland and DIT also lent important support.
Craig’s startup is based in an incubation space in Docklands Innovation Park in Dublin. His advice to budding entrepreneurs is to tap into the programmes provided through incubation centres such as DIT’s Hothouse.
“I had no understanding of the rigour and effort that would be needed to determine whether I had a good business proposition that could develop into a sustainable enterprise. This is where programmes like Hothouse and Startup Scaleup are able to provide vital guidance.”
Craig advises that readying an early prototype is also essential. “At the outset, most entrepreneurs will still be in their day job, so making the most of your time is essential. The tools are readily available, so a lot of progress can be made quickly using scrappy prototypes to test and validate your ideas.”