Promising to turn even the poorest of doodlers into artificial Rembrandts, researchers at Keio University have developed a desk that will automatically guide the tip of a pen to draw straight lines or perfectly round circles. It can even guide an artists' hand through a pre-determined illustration, making the technology sound like a forger's dream come true.
The secret, of course, is a strong magnet located beneath the desk's surface that's guided by computer-controlled arms moving it along the X and Y axis. It attracts and guides the metal tip of a ballpoint pen, which can be used to reproduce a given drawing. It also works the same way with a special stylus the researchers have developed. Although the desk is actually able to track and record its motion too, so a freehand sketch can be easily reproduced later. Besides being a handy tool for perfectly reproducing someone's signature, the desk also seems like a fantastic way to teach penmanship, guiding a student's pen through the motions as they learn the ancient craft of printing. [DigInfo TV]