6 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2010 2:09 AM by Kennef3G
ravimannan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Here's the situation. If you can figure this out you're a real iPhone ninja!


I have an iphone 3GS in an Otterbox Defender case.
I can use the iphone in this case with my figure just fine.
When I hold the iphone+case in one hand and use the POGO stylus I got from the Apple store, everything works fine.
But, if I lay the iphone+case on the floor (carpet) and try to use the stylus, it doesn't work. I tried different amounts of pressure and still couldn't get the stylus to work.

When I hold the iphone+case with one hand and try to use the stylus with gloves on, it doesn't work.
I'm only able to use the stylus with the iPhone in the Otterbox case with my gloves off, holding the iphone with one hand.

Of course, if the iphone is out of the case, everything is fine, but I don't want my iphone naked like that!


I'm thinking I need a complete conductive path from the iphone case through my body to stylus. I proved this with laying it on the carpet. Since it is capacitive and large.
So what about using aluminum foil or copper tape (both conductive) in the back of the otterbox and a wire tether from that to the stylus. Would that work?

Any ideas? Ideas that won't make my iphone look fugly with wires all over would be good. Thx!!!

iphone 3gs, iPhone OS 3.1.3
  • john.grayson Level 4 Level 4 (2,495 points)
    The touch screen doesn't work by pressure so you can press as hard as you want with the stylus but nothing will happen. The screen responds to the static electricity from skin contact. My guess is that the stylus acts as an extension of you finger but having it on the carpet is screwing that up.... It also explains why wearing gloves renders the stylus useless. If I had to guess, if you read the packaging for the stylus it explains how it works.
  • ravimannan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I asked otterbox the same question this is the response:

    *Good question! Unfortunately, we're not really qualified or trained to be able to offer any assistance with an issue such as this. An internet forum would likely be a good place to exchange potential ideas.*

    Lame. C'mon people!
  • stweath Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    You're point of entry for this problem should probably be POGO, not OtterBox. The OtterBox Defender case is made of plastic and silicon, and is non-conductive, so I would rule out the requirement to be holding the cased iPhone in your hand. Try placing the cased iPhone on another non-conductive surface (like a wooden table), and touch it with the POGO. Observe what happens.

    As john.grayson stated, I would suspect POGO has detailed how their device works either on the packaging on on their website, since the iPhone screen uses your finger's conductivity to work.

    The issue with the POGO not working when placed on the carpet may be related to the static electricity build-up in the carpet interfering with the POGO's functionality. The conductivity path should be from your hand to the POGO. Holding the iPhone (or not) won't have any effect. Again this can be tested by placing your (cased or uncased) iPhone on a non-conductive surface (and not touching it), and experimenting with the POGO (no gloves, gloves, etc) and see if the there is any change.

    I suspect you will find the issue solved when you have skin-to-POGO contact, regardless of where the iPhone is placed (with some exceptions like sitting on the carpet as per above) or whether it is in the Defender or uncased.
  • ravimannan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I tried the use the iphone+case on a wooden stool to test as a non-conductive surface, and it had the same problem as when the iphone+case was on the carpet.

    I went ahead and tried the idea I posted earlier.

    I got some copper tape and wrapped it around the POGO stylus.
    I got a long, thing wire and made a crissed-crossed backing and then set the iphone+case on the wire backing.
    I tethered the end of the wire backing to the pogo stylus.

    I can use the iphone+case with and without gloves.

    This weird situation started from how I wanted to use my iphone as a gps for my motorcycle. I have a universal ram mount that secures the iphone+case. I wasn't able to provide inputs to the gps unit without taking my gloves off and using my finger. Really annoying! Please note I just wanted to make small inputs to my GPS. I wasn't surfing facebook on my bike! Ride safe!!!!!

    So now I wrapped the wire around the base plate of my universal ram mount.


    I hope this helps someone.... So long Garmin!!
  • ravimannan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    another idea would be to do something like this:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-A-Glove-Work-With-A-Touch-Screen/

    but i didnt want to sew into my expensive racing gloves
  • Kennef3G Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    The display of an iPhone doesn't work with pressure but with conduction of your body. This all has to do with physics, so actually if you know something about this you can figure this out.