MagPen: A Novel Method of Digitizing Notes Using Magnets


This paper presents a novel method of digitizing notes and/or diagrams that are drawn on a sheet of paper. Most modern phones contain magnetometers that output the strength of the surrounding magnetic field in the x, y, and z direction. If a magnet is brought closer to the device (and the magnetometer), the values from the magnetometer will be altered. By determining the change in the altered magnetic field, we can determine the position of the magnet. With the position, we can determine the location of the magnet relative to the phone. We have created a magnet based pen (MagPen) and built an android application that allows users to write notes on a sheet of paper while their mobile phone automatically digitizes. Users will also be able to perform certain actions using the button on the pen and select various pen attributes using the MagPen.

Author Keywords

Pen input, magnetometer, mobile devices, notes

ACM Classification Keywords

H.5.2 [Information interfaces and presentation]: User Interfaces: Input Devices and Strategies.


A mobile device has a multitude of sensors ranging from GPS to a barometer. One sensor that is used daily is the capacitive sensor. Capacitive sensors detect anything that is conductive and they are used for touch input in mobile phones. We rely tremendously on touch input to interact with our devices ranging from playing games to checking notifications. We also have the ability to use our finger or styluses to write notes directly on a mobile device. However, touch/stylus input on mobile devices has its own set of problems. We are unable to easily draw detailed diagrams or write notes using the touch screen.

Is there another way to provide a different method of digitizing notes with a mobile