Monday, 12 August 2013

MagPen: A magnetic pen offers a new take on the stylus

MagPen is a magnetically driven pen interface that works both on and around mobile devices.The proposed device is accompanied by a new vocabulary of gestures and techniques that increase the expressiveness of the standard capacitive stylus, thanks to a seemingly simple piece of technology.

MagPen, magnetic pen

The MagPen developed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) PhD student Sungjae Hwang, the MagPen is essentially just a plastic tube covered in conductive tape, with conductive rubber tips at either end and a coin-shaped magnet inserted half-way down its length that works both on and around mobile devices.

The device introduces a new set of techniques and gestures that improves the overall expressiveness of the device way beyond the capacity of any known stylus in market. Any existing smartphone or tablet should be compatible, as long as it already contains the magnetometers and associated electronics that most such devices use as a compass.

It will allow the users to select colors from outside the screen boundaries. Third, spinning gestures related to different actions are recognized by the MagPen. Fourth, the MagPen is capable of inferring the pressure used. Lastly, different pens related to different modes of operation are uniquely identified.

The MagPen detects the direction at which a stylus pen is pointing; selects colors by dragging the pen across smartphone bezel; identifies pens with different magnetic properties; recognizes pen-spinning gestures; and estimates the finger pressure applied to the pen.

The MagPen utilizes magnetometers equipped with smartphones, thus there is no need to build an additional sensing panel for a touchscreen as well as circuits, communication modules, or batteries for the pen. With an application installed on smartphones, it senses and analyzes the magnetic field produced by a permanent magnet embedded in a standard capacitive stylus pen.

A Video Demo of the MagPen through youtube Video: