Digital pen design reinvigorated with sensor module, motion control

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

Digital pen, aided by sensor-based features and motion-sensing software, can reinvigorate this promising design concept with new use cases.

A sensor-enabled module and accompanying reference design enable OEMs to incorporate digital pen into smartphones, tablets, notebooks, interactive whiteboards, and other smart-display products. The low-power and highly-compact design is based on a wireless sensor module created by digital pen technology specialist Wacom in collaboration with chipmaker STMicroelectronics and IP supplier CEVA.

Wacom’s Active ES (AES) Rear IMU Module is built around ST’s 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) chip that incorporates CEVA’s MotionEngine Air motion-control software for orientation compensation and adaptive tremor-removal capabilities. The software boasting compact code size runs on ST’s BLE microcontroller and facilitates precision and control for motion-centric applications such as motion-based pointing, gesture control, and 3D motion tracking.

The OEMs can take the reference design built around this plug-and-play module and customize gestures, pointing, and motion control functions for a myriad of digital pen use cases. The production-proven design brings sensing and connectivity to the digital pen, allowing developers to extend functionality through advanced gesture, cursor, and motion control features.

For instance, developers can use the module and the accompanying reference design to turn the digital pen into a wireless presentation controller, which can control the on-screen cursor with natural hand movements. Next, the motion control software enables developers to replace complex menus and taps with a single gesture. And that’s how they can create a highly consistent and intuitive user experience across a wide range of digital pen applications.

The digital pen isn’t a new technology; however, aided by sensor-based features and motion-sensing software, it can reinvigorate this promising design concept and enable a host of new applications. Furthermore, the module’s ability to control a digital pen naturally and from a distance can transform previously individual experiences into a communal and collaborative premise.

This article was originally published on EDN.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.


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