Digital pen

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Microsoft Surface Pen is a digital pen.

A digital pen is an input device which captures the handwriting or brush strokes of a user and converts handwritten analog information created using "pen and paper" into digital data, enabling the data to be utilized in various applications. This type of pen is usually used in conjunction with a digital notebook, although the data can also be used for different applications or simply as a graphic.

A Smart pen is more specific than a digital pen; this one satisfies the same basic characteristics, but also has other features like voice recording or text scanner.

A smart pen is generally larger and has more features than an active pen. Digital pens typically contain internal electronics and have features such as touch sensitivity, input buttons, memory for storing handwriting data and transmission capabilities.[1]


Smart Pen

The input device captures the handwriting data, that, once digitized, can be uploaded to a computer and displayed on its monitor.

Some pens are equipped with a digital recording device that allows users to use them as intelligent Dictaphone. They can be used, for example for students to record the voice of the teacher while taking notes.

Technology groups[edit]


Accelerometer-based digital pens contain components that detect movement of the pen and contact with the writing surface.
Interior view of a Wacom tablet


Active pens, such as N-trig's DuoSense Pen™, include electronic components whose signals are picked up by a mobile device's built-in digitizer and transmitted to its controller, providing data on pen location, pressure, button presses and other functionality.


Position-based digital pens use a facility to detect the location of the tip during writing. Some models can be found on graphics tablets made popular by Wacom, and on tablet computers using Wacom's Penabled™ technology.


Camera-based pens use special digital paper to detect where the stylus contacts the writing surface, such as those using Anoto technology or NeoLAB Convergence technology.

Trackball pen[edit]

Trackball pens use a sensor that is located on the pen to detect the motion of the trackball.

Products list[edit]

Using a Smart pen as if it was a digitizing tablet
Manufacturer Product Uses Anoto pattern Remarks
PolyVision Eno yes
Canon IRISNotes no Smart Pen from Canon
NeoLAB Convergence Neo smartpen N2&M1 no Powered by Ncode technology of NeoLAB Convergence
Moleskine Moleskine Pen+ no Smart pen from NeoLAB Convergence
Apple Apple Pencil no A digital pen for the supported iPad.
Atary Atary digital pen no Using a Smart pen as if it was a digitizing tablet
Samsung S Pen no
Wacom Bamboo yes
Livescribe Livescribe yes
Logitech Digital Pen yes
Luidia Smartpen2 no
Maxell Penit yes
Nokia Digital Pen SU-1B yes
IOGear GPen300 no
Staedtler Digital Pen no
Oxford Papershow Trackball pen yes The technology involves a USB key to synchronise with the digital pen enabling connectivity between pen and PC.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shelly, Gary B.; Misty E. Vermaat (2009). Discovering Computers: Fundamentals. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-80638-7. Retrieved 3 November 2009.