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Smart pen

A digital pen is an input device that converts the analog signals of handwriting or brush strokes into a digital format. Initially designed as an accessory to smartphones, PDAs and tablets with instant writing or drawing ability on their displays, today we see an increased demand in smart pens for home, office and school applications as well as for smart reusable notebooks. In parallel, more and more cutting-edge technologies have been integrated in this slender writing tool, such as wireless charging, optical camera scanner, NFC identification and 3-D motion tracking. These new features significantly improve the user experience of the new generation of smart pen, which is no longer considered as a simple accessory to the mobile device, but a versatile, highly intelligent user interface to the mobile ecosystem.

Key challenges

To optimize the user experience of the smart pen, designers always make their best effort to limit the overall size and weight of the smart pen to a very low level. This brings in some technical challenges to the designer to take into consideration the following factors:

  • Maintain the overall power consumption of the smart pen at the lowest level, in order to maximize its battery life;
  • Optimize its battery charging efficiency with respect to the size constraints for wireless charging coils;
  • Provide accurate, latency-free 3-D motion tracking of the smart pen using motion sensors;
  • Ensure good compatibility with various operating systems and wireless communication protocols.

Our products and solutions

ST offers a wide selection of ultra-low-power STM32 microcontrollers, and dedicated MEMS sensors including motion modules with embedded gyroscopes and accelerometers, enabling accurate interactions with the device’s environment.

ST also provides a wide product portfolio covering the most innovative functions for Smart Pen applications such as wireless charging, protection ICs , NFC tags and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity solutions.

As a creator of unique technologies and products that provide our customers the best solutions to address their challenges and opportunities, ST provides a comprehensive set of both hardware and software development tools. In addition to ensuring your smart pen designs benefit from the latest features and the longest battery life possible, these tools will help you reduce development time and costs while gaining market share thanks to a shorter time to market.