Before touchpads, the stylus was at the cutting edge of data entry. And while designers and CAD operators remain devoted to the device, the advent of the touchscreen has sparked fresh interest in stylish stylii. Silicon Valley’s big players are now rolling out a new era of smart stationery.

Last autumn, Apple introduced its Pencil, designed specifically for the iPad Pro and stuffed with a raft of sensors to impart the sensation of literally drawing upon a screen. Not to be outdone, Microsoft’s latest high-end device, the Surface Book comes complete with the Surface Pen, a dedicated Bluetooth device that dovetails with MS’s software suite and has a similar natural feel. An alternative source of innovation lies in hybrid devices that blur the boundaries between digital and analogue and let you turn handwritten notes into text, annotate documents and share scribbled corrections in real time.

The designer’s favourite, Wacom’s Bamboo Spark is a smart folio that pairs regular paper with a phone or tablet, transmitting notes and drawings with integral handwriting recognition.

Finally, there’s Orée’s Stylograph, an advanced and stylish outsider that uses special paper and a micro camera to duplicate your scrawls on screen. Here’s hoping penmanship will undergo a 21st century revival.

As originally featured in the April 2016 issue of Wallpaper* (*205)