As many of you know I’m a gadget guy, going way back. How far? Well, I did this cartoon for The New Yorker in 1985:
But even with the relentless march of technology I never thought a gadget would replace Robert Mankoff with Robot Mankoff, but now, along comes something called Scribit, doing me dot for damn dot. And that’s fine by me, for as Ken Jennings the Jeopardy champion said when he lost to IBM’s Watson, “I for one welcome our computer overlords.” That is, as long as they’ve got plugs. No plugs, no welcome.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself, “What the hell is he talking about?” And at this point, I’m asking myself what the hell am I writing about, and shouldn’t I get back to schilling for “the world’s first write&erase robot that can display digital content on any vertical surface and that has been recognized by Time Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of the Year, and was one of last year’s top crowdfunding campaigns,” so that Scrooge McMankoff can collect a hefty endorsement fee?
Not quite. Or not until Scribit can draw money, which it couldn’t at the event I was invited to last week in the Manhattan offices of Carlo Ratti architect, engineer, activist and inventor of Scribit.
But that non-payoff notwithstanding, what Scribit could do was amazing. Basically, whatever has been drawn can be replicated by Scribit on any vertical surface, the easiest being the one we have all around us, walls. And then erased. All this happens, as with my cartoons, not in an instant but slowly and that what was very cool, even mesmerizing, about it. Take a look:
It doesn’t really go that fast, that would be terrifying. In real time, watching Scribit draw makes you slow down and experience the cartoon, or artwork, in a completely new way. You get to appreciate the process of the drawing before enjoying the final punchline. Scribit copies the recorded process of the drawing, so the viewer can see how the artist created the drawing, line by line. And, of course, the caption/punchline always comes last for the final reveal. It takes the comedian’s “wait for it…..” right into your living room, your office, your retail store window. You get the idea.
At the event, long-time New Yorker cartoonist Drew Dernavich created a cartoon on an iPad that Scribit duplicated, stroke for stroke, in the same sequence that Drew created it.
An initially suspicious Drew Dernavich…
who was eventually won over:
Soon you’ll be able to see Scribit in action for yourself at the MOMA store in New York. I’ll be there too. I’m the one with the hair.