Let’s Make A Touchpad Stylus!

lmtv-make-styluscropThe Let’s Make! TV e-learning team is constantly seeking out new tools and resources for makers. Most recently, we were testing out LectureScribe, a great, freeware Windows application that allows instructors to create and record whiteboard style drawings and doodles during their lectures. While the program works sufficiently with a mouse controller, the best results are generated with a far more precise graphics tablet and pen, such as those offered by Wacom and other manufacturers.

Unfortunately, at the time of our test we did not have a tablet available. But like any resourceful makers, we found a way to improvise! We created a McGyver style capacitive stylus that allowed us to use our laptop touchpad to control the mouse and draw more accurately. Check out the infographic lesson below to learn how to make your own in just 5 steps! All you need is an old pen, some foil, and a piece of a sponge.

The gist is this—the foil conducts electricity from your skin and carries the current to the moistened sponge at the tip, simulating a finger moving on the touchpad. Tap the pad to click or select an item. If the stylus becomes less responsive, just moisten the stylus tip again (a tiny bit of water or saliva will do the trick, just like using an old school pen.) As always, avoid large amounts of moisture near your electronics.

BTW, we will have a full introduction to LectureScribe in a future post. But you can always download it here and try out your stylus. Enjoy your new tool and please be sure to share your feedback, suggestions, and great new graphics creations in the comments below!

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