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Introducing the Palm Coaster™

by Enticio Handwear on
Introducing the Palm Coaster™

One sure way to know if you are truly innovating is that people don’t immediately understand what you have done and others just think you’re crazy; at the very least, what you are doing is not immediately obvious. That would certainly be the case with the Palm Coaster, however, I would also mention that we have recently been granted a US patent for it. Nonetheless, people sometimes overlook it or find it so different that they just ask, “Why?” I thought it would be useful to take some time to explain the driving force behind the “enigma” that is the Palm Coaster.

The Workflow

The way most professionals resolve the problems that come with tablets and touch screens is to wear a glove. And while even more people simply try to ignore it, gloves are the best way to solve a number of common problems that you have to deal with when working with touch surfaces. However, as good as they are, gloves have trade-offs of their own that work against them for some people. In the end, not everyone can comfortably wear a glove and even for those who can, it may not fit into their particular style of working.

We don’t give a second thought to fastening a button on a shirt or blouse and yet, sometimes things go sideways and it takes several seconds of concentrated effort to get it to engage properly. We have all been there where “buttoning the shirt” is on autopilot - but then we realize there is a problem and we stop and stare at it while we try to get it to engage properly. The same thing can happen with gloves; it may seem obvious, but you do have to take the time to put it on. And since we are always trying to make things better, we asked ourselves, “What could possibly be simpler than a glove?”

More and more creative professionals are working on the go, in remote locations or need something that is even easier than carrying, fitting and fastening a glove, when they need to get something done. Now, when the mood hits you, you just grab a Palm Coaster, toss it down and you’re ready to go. Without the fitting, pulling or snapping, using the Palm Coaster is faster and simpler than grabbing a piece of gum out of a pocket - now that’s quick. Some of our users really love the fact that using a Palm Coaster instead of a glove, is simply more dynamic for ad hoc workflows. By this, we mean that work can come in all shapes and sizes too; not everybody sits down for long work sessions. Some workflows have a lot of different things going on and they need to change up quickly. For those people, it’s sometimes faster and more convenient to be in the moment - with all the benefits of a glove… without having to wear something.

Rethinking Everything

First principle thinking in design is about challenging assumptions; this goes a long way towards making sure that you are solving the right problem by challenging more than the design but rethinking the solution. Gloves work well, but that was never the goal; the actual goal was to address the issues that arise when using a touch surface - usually a portable device like a tablet.

Of course, all designs have strengths and weaknesses and this is a universal truth that applies to all gloves, no matter who makes them. For the Palm Coaster, the tradeoff is small when compared to a glove. When wearing a glove, you can work in any orientation and you can lift your hand away from the surface because a glove becomes part of your hand; that is why the fit is so critical. The Palm Coaster is designed to work best on horizontal or gentle angles so that it remains held in place by gravity instead of wrapping the hand. In that configuration, you can easily lift your hand away even though steeper surface angles may cause it to slide (as it is designed to do). However, in practice, this is not an issue for most people as they prefer that the angle of the drawing surface not be too steep for other reasons - such as bending of the wrist in uncomfortable ways.

The Fit

Intuitively, we already know that “one size fits all” is usually not a good strategy; it doesn’t work for hats, cars, or houses and it certainly isn’t any good for golf clubs, shoes or skinny jeans, and as we know, it is a terrible idea for gloves. Consider that the shape and size of a person’s right hand is different from their left hand - and in more subtle ways, your body changes nearly every day. There’s no chance that one, shape or size glove will ever work well - that’s one reason why Enticio gloves do not rely on compression or stretch to achieve a fit.

The Palm Coaster is the ultimate solution for one-size-fits-all that makes sense. It does this by changing the rules - removing all the complexity of fitting the hand and focusing on solving the actual problem. The best thing about that is that you get all the benefits of a glove, without the complexity or disruption of your workflow. The 4.5 inch diameter of a Palm Coaster hits the sweet spot for all but the largest of hands, and even then, you can always use more than one if you wish; smaller hands can simply “scoot” closer to the edge. And as a general solution that works for the largest number of people… it’s about as close to perfection as you will ever get.

Alternative Needs

This is implied throughout when we talk about flexible designs, however, there is no point in ignoring the elephant in the room. Sure, there are plenty of people who refuse to wear a glove, however, there are also those of us who simply cannot wear a glove. We approach this in two different ways: first, the open design of our two finger gloves have full wrist straps that when combined with the open design of the shell, can often see one person be able to wear up to three different sized gloves; that’s a lot of flexibility. For those who might need it, the glove will continue to work even if you modify it in drastic ways (like turning it into a one-finger glove). Of course, this is not about the warranty; the real question is that if you did it, would it still work? The general answer is “yes,” it should still work as designed. We have also had customers for whom having a compressive force on the hand and wrist is a deal-breaker and eliminates virtually all other designs from consideration. It is our view that compression on the body over a long period of time should only be done for medical reasons. The fact that so many other designs depend on compression for their fit opens the door to serious health complications that could end a budding career before it begins.

Enticio gloves are great at what they do, but the Palm Coaster was designed to offer an alternative for people who depend on being able to use touch surfaces for more than just the basics. For those of us who might have additional physical challenges, not having to fit a glove on the hand and being able to rest on a padded surface can make all the difference in the world. If this sounds like you, the Palm Coaster might just be what you are looking for.

The Convenience

Everyone works differently. For some people, ad hoc workflows are the normal way of getting things done and when inspiration strikes, being able to just grab and go is the very definition of spontaneity and convenience.

As you might expect, being able to achieve all this with some invention that results in a simpler form factor could be a game changer. One benefit is cost, which works in two ways; first off, people who might not be ready to commit to owning and wearing a glove can start by trying a Palm Coaster to experience all the other benefits, without the commitment. For some, they will advance to wearing a full glove when they need one; however, for others, they may not need a glove at all. The second benefit of the Palm Coaster is that with simplicity comes savings and these are the most affordable solution available, they can be bought individually or in bundles for even more savings. They are extremely lightweight and travel well in a pocket or purse, alternatively, rather than carry them around, it is also convenient enough to own a few and keep them where you want to keep them handy.

Unique and Iconic

At first glance, it’s easy to underestimate the effort that has resulted in the design of the Palm Coaster. Originally designed for tablets with ever-shrinking edge bezels means that running the hand off the edge of a tablet is common. The Palm Coaster is designed with internal layers of padding that provide enough stiffness to deform in a controlled way that smooths the feel of that edge without hiding it. This design makes it possible to run off the edge a bit when drawing, such that you can move back onto the “flat” of the surface without having the device (or the hand) bind, fold or catch on the edge. Digital artists are always having to deal with the physical dimensions of the device and the Palm Coaster helps with that when working close to the edge.

One of the other things you notice is that it comes in colors; this is expressive but it is noticeable because the outer seam dominates the design - being so beautiful to look at. It took nearly three years of R&D to develop a seam that looks perfect from every angle. That elegance and simplicity effectively hides how strong it has to be to bind all the layers together while remaining soft and resilient under the hand. All that, combined with a calibrated thickness and stiffness wrapped in a top that grips and a bottom that slips delivers something that is new in every way. Like a mousepad for the hand, nothing works like a Palm Coaster™; it is so iconic and intuitive that the name tells you how to use it. What could be easier than that?

Extended Uses

People have found additional uses for Palm Coasters that are apart from its original use but not that far from its purpose. One use that keeps cropping up is related to the calibrated thickness and stiffness of the design. Some people prefer to use Palm Coasters when working on their laptop or other input or control devices. They tell us that the combination of padding and gentle stiffness makes a great wrist rest wherever they normally rest their hands when working with a laptop or console that has a sharp well-defined edge (which has a tendency to cut into the hand and/or wrist). In addition to enhancing general comfort, the hand doesn’t sweat against the metal, glass or plastic of the device as it provides a superior feel with the microfiber suede against the skin.

Final Thoughts

Things are impossible, until they’re not. Things don’t exist, until they do. One thing that is certain is that our future will have touch surfaces everywhere and how we deal with that reality, only time will tell. If I had to guess, I would say that a large number of them will be nearly invisible in our daily lives but a smaller number of them will be an important part of our work and play and interacting in an efficient, precise and comfortable manner will be absolutely critical to success... yours and ours. Enticio has already “laid claim” to a world that is coming sooner than you think; in fact, the future seems to be running ahead of schedule.

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