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How to make your own capacitive touch stylus… sort of.

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A video at metacafe has made the rounds through the DIY blogs that demonstrates how to make your own stylus for the iPod touch, which presumably would work on other capacitive touchscreens, as we’ve seen Rob do on the HP tx2 with the Pogo Stylus. It’s an impressive trick, but if you know how capacitive touch works, you’ll  hear within the first ten seconds the author doesn’t really understand  why his stylus works. Not to ruin the surprise, but basically for something to work as a capacitive touch stylus it must be sufficiently conductive, such as  a metal pen with a brass  snap fastener  attached on the end that conducts electricity between you and the screen.  If you think  ”any pen will do,” well, you’re in for some disappointment.

In my own testing,  I found I  can use a brass tack to navigate my iPhone screen  as long as I’m holding it  with my fingers (pointy end toward me, rounded head against the screen). But it won’t work if it’s stuck on the end of a dry sponge because a dry sponge isn’t conductive. Works fine with a damp cellulose  sponge though. In fact,  the damp sponge worked as a stylus entirely on its own. So there you go: glue a damp sponge to the end of a stick and you got yourself a capacitive touch stylus.  Cheap  and absolutely  won’t scratch your screen, unlike say, a metal snap fastener.

Via Make: Online by way of Lifehacker

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at] notebooks.com

1 Comment

  1. Debbie

    05/08/2012 at 1:06 pm

    It works! I used a damp q-tip. As long as my fingers were touching the cotton it worked. But that was such a small area to touch so I wrapped a damp cotton ball around the q-tip. As long as my fingers touched the cotton and the cotton touched the q-tip then it worked like a charm!

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