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Magnetic stylus adds input options to existing mobile devices

July 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM

SEOUL, July 24 (UPI) -- Researchers in South Korea say a magnetic stylus that uses existing features on smartphones can provide users with a compatible and simple input tool.

The MagPen, developed at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, can be used on any smartphone or tablet computer as long as it has a magnetometer embedded in it, an institute release said Wednesday.

Almost all mobile devices today provide location-based services, using magnetometers built into their integrated circuits that function as compasses.

Taking advantage of that, the researchers came up with a technology that enabled an input tool for mobile devices such as a capacitive stylus pen to interact more sensitively and effectively with the devices' touch screens.

Text and command entered by a stylus pen are expressed better on the screen of mobile devices than those done by human fingers, the researchers said.

With an app installed on a smartphone or tablet, the MagPen can sense and analyze the magnetic field produced by a permanent magnet embedded in a standard capacitive stylus pen.

"Our technology is eco-friendly and very affordable because we are able to improve the expressiveness of the stylus pen without requiring additional hardware beyond those already installed on the current mobile devices," institute doctoral student Sungjae Hwang said.

"The technology allows smartphone users to enjoy added convenience while no wastes generated."

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