Sensitive pen

Capture d’écran 2021-04-17 à

Regular pens provide a unique feedback to writers: the written trace.


Not in real time.


Today, with ubiquitous digital technology, movement sensors with performance specifically adapted to human perception and actions are found in any Smartphones and Tablets.


Major examples are the micro “Inertial Measurement Units” (IMU) which gather accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.


Such a device associated to a battery, a Wifi/Bluetooth and a memory can be inserted in a pen as they are in any Smartphone.

Mass production associated to Smartphone makes a Sensitive-Pen potentially very cheap.


Further this opens the possibility to access in real time (time acquisition is in the range 1ms-10ms) movements, vibrations and orientations of the pen.

Goals here are:

  • improvements and adaptations of hardware, of software parameters,

  • but also creation of specific user interfaces for both:

    • researchers,

    • practitioners

    • and children:

with in mind : flexibility of user scenarios, modularity of data acquisition, test of feedback (sounds, vibrations, lights…).   

When we think about DCD children as suggested by Caroline Huron, our aim with Sensitive-Pen is to empower researchers and practitioners working with children affected by DCD, with these diagnostic and remediation tools.

DCD stands for Developmental co-ordination disorder.


First step will be development of advanced pen prototypes. This involves starting iterations with researchers, practitioners (teachers, educators, psychometrician…), children, engineers and designers, at a very early stage of developing and testing.

The collaborative group «Sensitive pen» gathers:-

  • @CRI Paris

    • Ana Phelippeau, PhD student 

    • Adrien Husson, Designer Free Lance

    • Vladimir Hermand, FabManager @CRI Paris 

  • @DVIC 

    • Cedrine Soquet 

    • Brice Parilusyan and his project Synthetic Skin Interface

    • Pierrick Chevron

    • Clement Duhart DVIC supervisor


Different versions of CRI-DVIC Sensitive pen will be equipped  with:

  • a 9-axis IMU to identify pen orientation, dynamics and vibrations in 3D-space

  • an artificial skin to detect finger positions and pressures on pen

  • WiFi and Bluetooth

  • memory

  • battery 

Research projects associated to Sensitive pen:

Different versions of Sensitive Pen are developed in following ecosystems :

  • Ana Phelippeau Phd project entitled: «Neuromotor pre-requisites for handwriting in children» . See page Research   

Ana PhD Supervision: Joël Chevrier (CRI-Université Grenoble Alpes) 

  • A new version is under development @CRI Paris and @DVIC together with Caroline Huron to empower teachers, researchers and psychométricians taking care of DCD Children (Developmental co-ordination disorder)


The research group of Frederic Bevilacqua at IRCAM has developed machine learning codes which enable one, first, to record a movement or a gesture in a single pass, and, second, to identify in real time the recorded movement or gesture. Example is a hand gesture when hand is equipped with these IMU. 

We commonly used these Open codes within a CRI-IRCAM collaboration for “Exploring Embodied Learning for Early Childhood Education”. 

See demo here. 


Apprendre à écrire : une histoire musclée