ik-a-sketch collaborative scribbling


At this year’s PICNIC conference [Neil Mendoza] and [Edwin Dertien] built a giant Etch-a-Sketch to help bring attendees together. The drawing area is a rear-projection screen, rather than a physical powder based setup, and is surrounded by the familiar red frame with vertical and horizontal control knob. Because the two knobs are too far apart for one person to use at the same time, two people must work together to move the stylus.

To help break the ice the device was designed to incorporate social networking. Each knob requires that an RFID (embedded in the conference badges) be scanned by the person controlling it. Both users are then connected as friends through a social network and when they’re done “making art”, the beauty of their creation is delivered to them via email.

We don’t know about you, but our etch-a-sketch attempts have always been crappy. There are some folks who can turn out a masterpiece on the thing, but this is really just meant to grab your interest for a minute or two and help you meet some people. One feature that should be noted, this giant device requires shaking to erase the image.


  1. monkeyslayer56 says:

    i stink at anything related to art… but cool

  2. John Hopkins says:

    Similar projects have been done before with pretty cool results.

    This website shows a pretty cool computer controlled etch-a-sketch:


  3. Seth says:

    “One feature that should be noted, this giant device requires shaking to erase the image.”

    Are you sure you don’t mean that it doesn’t require shaking?

  4. Kris says:

    From the article “Just like a real Etch-A-Sketch, it was necessary to shake the Ik-A-Sketch to clean it. This was achieved using an accelerometer and led to to lots of jumping up and down around the installation.”

    Awesome build.

  5. Hi
    I read the information about the ik-a-sketch collaborative scribbling. I want to get more information about this. It is very useful information. Thanks for sharing…

  6. XBox Hacker says:

    Wow that guy that does these etch-a-sketch drawings is amazing.
    But this large etch a sketch idea makes sense, good for meeting new people I suppose.

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