Ibis ‘Sleep Art’ App: Create Art in Your Sleep


Sleep apps are nothing new. There are a multitude of sleep-cycle alarm clocks that try to time your waking to a natural point in your cycle, and a bevy of different meditation aids and white noise apps to help you fall asleep. There are even voice activated recorders like Sleep Talk Recorder for Android that can capture any genius you might spew while deep in REM. Sleep as Android and Absalt EasyWakeUp Pro demystify those eight hours that we are lost from the world, tracking sleep patterns and presenting data in handy graphs.

While these sleep tracking graphs can be handy as a source of concrete data with which to convince your partner that their midnight jostling, tossing and turning is having a deleterious effect on your life, they’re not exactly something you want to display to a wide audience.

IBIS Hotels has the solution. Their new app, Sleep Art turns your night-time movements into digital art. Tracking your movements while you sleep, it then creates a digital representation of your night’s sleep through trailing lines and colours. It provides a minute-by-minute trackback feature for the finished piece, so you can see how your partner’s 4am snoring affected the work.

The app isn’t just some kind of random brainwave from IBIS Hotels – its launch marked the beginning of National Bed Month, when the start of British Summertime in March robs us all of an hour’s sleep. As such, the app does more than just create art. It also works as an alarm clock.

While Sleep Art isn’t the most sophisticated sleep app on the market, it is most likely one of the coolest. The art created is actually quite appealing, with the colours popping out against a black background and each work of art completely unique. The abstract lines and curves create something reminiscent of exotic flowers or strange deep-sea creatures.

The app is available for download on iTunes, and you don’t have to be an IBIS Hotels guest to get it. They have also set up a Twitter hashtag #IbisSleepArt so that you can share your creations with others. All you have to do is fall asleep – effort-free art!

Wacom Inkling: Analogue-to-digital sketching

Love to doodle? I’ve been doing art with digital devices for ages and very little (for me at least) matches the joy of scribbling with paper and pen. Although 53 digital’s Paper comes close. Wacom are something of the de facto standard when it comes to tablets and even they know the joys of old fashioned sketching. Of course one of the fun things about living in the future is that we can take old fashioned things and ram cutting edge technology in them.


Inking is digital sketch pen that captures a digital likeness of a user’s work while sketching on old fashioned paper. We’ve seen other fancy pens – notably (pun intended) LiveScribe’s offerings – although Inkling is doesn’t require special notebooks and instead works with any piece of paper.

Rather than a complete input solution, Inkling is more of a “front end” for artists, illustrators and graphic designers for their rough concepts and creative brainstorms. Rough ideas are capture on real paper in real ink and then brought to life on a computer.

Inkling works via a wireless receiver that’s positioned on the edge of the page. As long as there’s an uninterrupted line of sight to the pen tip, you can capture the sketch and manipulate it digitally later on. The ballpoint pen uses Wacom’s pressure sensing technology (1024 levels of sensitivity) to detect how hard the pen is being pressed to the paper so you can apply shading and various other forms of nuance to your work. The bridge between the digital and analogue worlds works both ways and you can create layers in the digital file while sketching on paper.

When you’re done sketching simply connect the receiver via USB to transfer all sketches as bitmap or vector files. It’s odd that something so futuristic as analogue-to-digital sketching uses something that feels as old as USB but it is a universal input method. Wireless background syncing would be nice but I’m clearly spoilt.

Files can be edited with Inkling Sketch Manager (included) to edit, delete, add layers or transferred to creative software applications for further editing including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS6 (both 32bit and 64bit operating systems), as well as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6. Alternatively, files can be saved in JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG and PDF formats for use with other applications. Inkling Sketch Manager also supports Mac OS 10.8.

The Inkling sketch pen is priced at £149.99 (including VAT) and is available now from Wacom partners and the Wacom eStore.

Wacom to Manga Management

Graphics tablet manufacturer Wacom has gone all anime – teaming up with Japanese comic book and digital art craze Manga for a quirky special release.

Bamboo Manga is especially for those fans who not only enjoy following these distinctive digital fellows but also like to try their hand at redrawing the characters and even designing their own.


The special pack combines Wacom’s popular Bamboo Pen and Touch tablet with specialist software Manga Studio Debut 4 and Anime Studio Debut 8. So whether you’re a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan or a My-HiME enthusiast, you can carry these characters around in your mind and recreate them whenever and wherever artistic inclination strikes.

Manga Studio gives you access to traditional Manga-style drawing tools and effects plus the all-essential word balloons to insert your own dialogue. Once your masterpiece is complete, Anime Studio breathes life into the scribbled cartoon chums with audio, video and special effects for 2D movies, cartoons, anime and cut-out animations.

Manga is a massive industry, with a global following and scores of spin-offs. With Manga Wacom you could channel your artistic flair and create unique graphical illustrations in the style of these enchanting oriental characters.

But Wacom has even greater designs on these discernible digital creatures. It’s primed to join the Manga convention circuit, inviting the most devoted Manga-kas to turn their hands at creating the characters – much like those theme park caricaturists – with their own quirky Japanese still-life models at the disposal of their Bamboo Pen.

Wacom and Manga is a natural match-up, as Manga has experienced a real revolution in the advent of commercial graphics devices. The Wacom responds as if pen on paper, meaning the digital artist can hand-draw characters straight to PC before activating their own anime adventures.

String your designs together for storyboards, fight scenes, even whole episodes. Then share via social networking sites or Manga communities.

Akin to most multi-touch displays, this distinctive black and green tablet responds to gestures such as pinch to zoom and flick to rotate. It also lets you use pen and multi-touch together to keep your digital design flowing and the stories going.

Wacom Bamboo Manga is £89 and on sale now.

Turn your dreams into a work of art

We get a lot of press releases sent to us here at Latest Gadgets, but the latest release from the Ibis chain of hotels must rank up there with the strangest we’ve read. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…


Ibis have teamed up with BETC Digital and Swedish robotics specialist, Acne (something lost in translation there) to bring us the Sleep Art bed. The chains recently opened flagship UK hotel in Blackfriars is the location for the cutting-edge bed and is sure to attract punters from near and far who want to try the technology out for themselves.

Using sensors and digital relays, your night-time movements on the bed’s mattress are digitally transmitted to a robot located in Paris which then deciphers your nocturnal movements into a work of art. There are eighty sensors working over-time in the bed whilst you drift away, recording not only your bodily movement, but also your temperature and even the sounds you make to translate into a work of art. Every signal the bed sends to the robotic artist in Paris is transferred into a brush stroke on a piece of canvas, with the final result promising to be a sight to behold. Who knew snoring heavily could be so creative?

It sounds bizarre, and to be frank it is, but who can predict where it will all end up? You may well be terrible at art whilst you are awake, but in your dreams you may just be the next Michelangelo… Or rather Salvador Dali, if your imagination is anything like mine.

To find out more about Sleep Art and to stand a chance of winning one of 40 exclusive experiences, go to www.facebook.com/ibis and ‘like’ the page.

CATIA Natural Sketch gives digital sketching a whole new dimension

They say many of the cutting edge products we use today began as simple sketches or doodles on a pad. Just ask any automotive designer about it and the first thing they’ll tell you is they always sketch out an idea first. So, it makes sense in our digital world, to utilise the power of computers to replicate sketching doesn’t it?


Up to now though there has been a distinct void between artistic two dimensional sketching software and the seriously heavy duty three dimensional modelling software used in the construction or automotive industry for example. There are also drawbacks to starting an idea in 2D and realising it is perhaps not feasible after all when it is converted to a 3D model. All that time and mental energy wasted.

CATIA Natural Sketch however, is a breakthrough three dimensional sketching program which finally combines the intuitiveness of a creative artist’s two dimensional painting skills with the power of accurate and realistic three dimensional modelling.  The possibilities for skilled users are endless and the cost savings in time and effort are likely to be significant.

Developed and produced by Paris based Dassault Systèmes, a highly respected name in the developing 3D software market, CATIA Natural Sketch has already received plaudits from both artists and engineers alike. Pauline Deltour, a Product Designer remarked: “Discovering the new CATIA for Creative Designers solution was very fascinating as it enabled me to literally draw in 3D.  It offers a direct translation of the idea I have in mind into the 3D world and takes care of all the uncomfortable steps of the process.”

Quite frankly, any product that is offering an opportunity to save time and costs without compromising on quality and imagination will be seen as a potential life saver in any form of industry.


Edinburgh Fringe Festival virgins and true Fringe troupers unite to take advantage of the GiggleMaps app

If you’ve ever been to the Edinburgh Fringe festival you will know how difficult orientating yourself and finding the different venues, shows and events you want to see can be, particularly if you are, as they say, a Fringe ‘virgin’. To help eliminate the embarrassment poised on those obvious Fringe virgins, squinting with maps as they struggle to familiarise themselves in the largest arts festival in the world, Realise Digital has launched ‘GiggleMaps’, an app designed to help navigate themselves through the 2011 Fringe Festival.


Created by a team of Realise Digital developers, GiggleMaps can be accessed through any desktop or mobile browser and users can identify where a person is. Once identified, users are informed of closest venues, impending shows and real-time social media buzz. GiggleMaps users can choose between nine different categories, including theatre, music and comedy, to which the app will respond and locate events and shows best matched to their choices.

This fun, interactive and, what I imagine, will prove to be a highly useful app, uses the new Edinburgh Festival Fringe API, a data access point provide exclusively to 20 Realise Digital developers for the first time this year. GiggleMaps therefore gives these developers a unique opportunity to use the official Fringe festival information point to create innovatory methods of providing festival goers with content and information about this legendary arts festival.

If you are off to the Fringe Festival this year it may be a wise move to download the GiggleMaps app. As whether you are a Fringe virgin or true Fringe trouper, why not take advantage to technology that could help make your visit to the Scottish capital during its most creative, vibrant and colourful three weeks of the year, even more engaging?

You can view GiggleMaps at www.gigglemaps.co.uk