LCC Software and Hardware Analysis
Existing Software Group
by Andy Litzinger
SummaSketch III by Summagraphics Corp. is a tablet digitizer. A tablet digitizer is a device that transfers a drawing from paper to the computer as the user traces his/her drawing with a device called a transducer. The user can choose between one of two tools, or transducers, to trace a drawing. He/she can use a special mouse with either 4 or 16 buttons, or a special pen called a stylus that has two buttons. The buttons on the mouse and pen are used to select a pressure to trace with. The tablet supports up to 256 different pressures allowing for a large variety of line darkness. The user can also choose to use the actual pressure of the pen to the tablet to control the darkness of the lines.
The technical features, according to Summagraphics, are as follows:
One of the best things about SummaSketch III is that it is compatible with many different operating systems as well as different software programs. In fact, Summagraphics claims that SummaSketch III is compatible with over 400 software programs. What this means is that most users will not have to buy an additional graphics program to take advantage of the SummaSketch III. Macintosh, Windows 3.1, 95, and NT are some of the operating systems SummaSketch III is compatible with.
Summagraphics has provided a FAQ section on their web page, http://www.summagraphics.com/support.htm. If the user needs further support they can also contact Summagraphics at 800-458-5888.
SummaSketch III retails for $399, but can be found online at http://www.bytekacad.com/peripherals/digitizers/susssp.htm for $259.
Tablet digitizers are very useful and versatile. Artists can use them to transfer their drawings to the computer. Architects and Engineers can use them to transfer their plans into the computer as well. And general users can use them to transfer anything they want into the computer. Based on its specifications and reviews, Summagraphic's SummaSketch III seems to be an excellent tablet digitizer. Practice is necessary to master the SummaSketch; this user was only able to figure out the most basic functions. According to Computer Shopper magazine, in 1996 Lockheed Martin purchased Summagraphics Corp. This move virtually insures the future presence of some version of SummaSketch. This makes the product desirable because it means there will always be somewhere to get product support. In conclusion, the low cost, high versatility and compatibility make SummaSketch III a great buy. SummaSketch III is an excellent digitizer that the LCC can use until a technological advance allows the production of new digitizers that are cheaper and more precise.