Brainstorming the Palm Coaster
Inventions can be surprising, however, even more so is the creativity of other people. You start out with one thing in your mind that drives the design and when other people see it they get ideas of their own as to how they want to use it. The Palm Coaster is just such a device, perhaps because it is such a ubiquitous shape and construction that it stirs a person’s imagination. I thought it would be fun to share some of the ideas people have had and maybe you will come up with a few of your own.
Well, starting with the obvious bits, the name is also the instruction for use; you have your palm... and it’s a coaster. The funny part is that it is designed to do some of the same things if you include keeping moisture and from ruining the thing it is sitting on. After all, it was designed to provide a flexible, passive barrier between your hand and the screen of a touch screen. It can then also be a barrier between your hand and other things as well and while you could put a drink on it, a Palm Coaster is designed to breathe, letting air through so it would not prevent liquids from ruining your table.
A Palm Coaster can sometimes be a better solution than wearing a glove. Why? Well first off, not everyone can comfortably wear a glove. The human hand is a very complex mechanism that is designed to keep changing shape and no two hands are exactly alike. As a result, many hands are simply too different from each other for any single glove made to common specifications to ever fit right, and whether that is a problem for you is a question that only you can answer. So, for a large number of people, something that provides all the benefits of a glove without being a glove is the perfect answer, whether you work digitally or with more traditional materials.
When wearing a glove as a smudge guard with traditional materials, you are looking for a barrier that keeps graphite or charcoal, pastels, etc. from getting pushed around the paper as you work. However, there is much more to it than that; even when you do a good job of avoiding any smudging of your own work, you may look at a finished piece only to see dark spots where your hand was resting for a period of time and the paper absorbed the sweat and oils from the skin. Yeah, we’ve all been there. What’s worse is that because you are trying not to rest your hand on the places where you’ve drawn something, the spots tend to show up in the open spaces where there is nothing being sketched. It’s definitely not a good look and it distracts from the piece.
One big reason that the smudging is such an issue generally is that the material is actually getting picked up by your hand and mixing with the moisture and oils in your skin and creating pasty deposits on your hand as it is now mixed with a binder that changes its chemistry and its properties. A glove does a lot to fix this sort of thing by taking the hand out of the equation, however, some of the sketching material will still adhere to the glove instead of your hand; it is better, but it could still be improved. This introduces the Palm Coaster advantage.
While a Palm Coaster is designed to glide over a slick surface like the glass of a touch screen, on traditional media, like paper, it doesn’t. Instead, the breathable weave creates friction against the paper holding it in place, which prevents smudging and because it is not moving, the material is less likely to adhere to the pad the way it does with a glove. No matter how that might help, anything resting against charcoal, pastel, oil stick, etc. will become contaminated over time. People don’t normally swap gloves or keep spares on hand, however a better solution is to have a stack of low-cost Palm Coasters ready to go so that when one starts to get a little funky, you can toss it into the wash basket and grab a clean one off the stack and keep going. That way, the problem goes away with the Palm Coaster, taking all those stray particles that don’t belong on the paper with it and everything comes out in the wash and they are ready for the next day.
The Laptop Palm Rest
Some people do not care much for items that only do one thing, ignoring for the moment the value of having something that does one thing really well, there is value in looking for new ways to use items that you might already own. There are limits but sometimes people’s creativity can be amazing. More than one person has reported that they use Palm Coasters’ padded comfort in a different way… on a laptop. They find that the sharp, metallic ninety-degree angle of some laptops to be attractive but uncomfortable to their hands and laying down a Palm Coaster to rest their palms/wrists on helps a lot when they do a lot of work on their favorite laptop. This works better than you might expect since Palm Coasters are designed with a controlled flexibility that smooths out the edge of a tablet since drawing on a tablet always has you working near the outer edges and rarely in the perfect center of the screen. Artists working on tablet screens are always adjusting and moving the artwork to keep it centered because working anywhere near an edge is a hassle… until now. Using a Palm Coaster can make it much easier to work away from the center of the screen, which means you spend less time having to constantly center the piece, and less adjusting means you work faster and more efficiently than ever! This is not the kind of thing people think about unless you do it for a living; then, it affects your work, your ability to produce and your livelihood. Oh yeah, and if taking a couple of Palm Coasters and using them to make working with a laptop more comfortable… all the better!