Modular Input/Output Pen
VersaPen is an adaptable, multimodal and hot-pluggable pen for expanding input capabilities.
Users can create their own pens by stacking different input/output modules that define both the look and feel of the customized device.
Why Versa Pen?
VersaPen offers multiple advantages. Allowing in-place interaction, it reduces hand movements and avoids cluttering the interface with menus and palettes. It also enriches interaction by providing multimodal capabilities, as well as a mean to encapsulate virtual data into physical modules which can be shared by users to foster collaboration. We present various applications to demonstrate how VersaPen enables new interaction techniques.
How is it made?
Our device consists of a series of modules that can be stacked to build an augmented pen. Once connected to a computer, the user can map the sensors and actuators of the pen to existing applications
Shape: A module consists of two nested 3D-printed cylinders. The inner cylinder contains the electronic parts and fits into the outer shell to form the final module (18mm). We built a set of 15 modules, including various input modules such as buttons, a mouse wheel, an accelerometer, a touch sensor, and a microphone. Output modules provide visual feedback, through RGB LED modules, or haptic feedback via a vibro-motor. The tip of the pen is conducive to support compatibility with a capacitive screen and is sensitive to pressure. The form factor results from a compromise to achieve sufficient rigidity while enabling a comfortable grasp. Each module encloses electronic parts
Control: A microcontroller small enough (< 9.5mm) to fit inside the pen-sized container, manages the embedded sensor/actuator and handles the communication between modules. Data is acquired locally and differentiated by the IDs of the attached modules and sensors. These IDs allow sending specific instructions to a given output module. Messages from the entire stack are passed via a shared bus to an Arduino controller connected to the computer. A server translates incoming messages and streams them via TCP to the soft-ware managing events.
Software: We implemented a simple flow-based programming interface in order to let end users connect the various input and output sources to computer applications through visual programming (Figure 4). Users can experience and explore the demonstration as the customization process is compatible with existing applications.
Exploring Multimodal Interactions with a Programmable Modular Pen Marc Teyssier, Gilles Bailly, Éric Lecolinet CHI EA '17 Demo Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems; 05/2017 PDF ↵
VersaPen: An Adaptable, Modular and Multimodal I/O Pen Marc Teyssier, Gilles Bailly, Éric Lecolinet CHI EA '17 Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems; 05/2017 PDF ↵