STMicroelectronics, Wacom & CEVA collaborate to develop an enhanced Digital Pen Experience

CEVA, Inc. together with STMicroelectronics, and Wacom Co., Ltd, announced their collaboration to develop an enhanced digital pen experience with a new, wireless sensor module that extends the digital pen’s functionality through advanced gesture, cursor, and motion control. The combined effort leverages the specialized capabilities of the three companies to create an advanced, sensor-enabled digital pen that can be adopted by OEMs to add value to their smartphone, tablet, notebook, PC, interactive whiteboard or other smart-display products.

The “Active ES (AES) Rear IMU Module” combines Wacom’s digital pen technology together with a custom version of ST’s low-power 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit sensor and Bluetooth Low Energy System-on-Chip (SoC), along with CEVA’s MotionEngine™ Air motion-control software. The result is a low-power, highly compact design suitable for integration into any digital pen form factor. With support for motion-based pointing, gesture control, and 3D motion tracking, OEMs can customize the module reference design to enable a host of new applications, user conveniences, and features. The sensor-enabled digital pen can also serve as a wireless presentation controller that can control the on-screen cursor with natural hand movements. It can also be programmed to replace complex series of menus and taps with a single gesture. The software features CEVA’s patented orientation compensation and adaptive tremor-removal technology, ensuring a highly consistent and intuitive user experience across a wide range of applications.

Wacom is the first company developing a product with these advanced capabilities in an AES Pen. The AES Rear IMU Module is targeted as a plug-and-play module accessory that seamlessly works with Wacom’s AES digital pens with the applicable module connector. The use of sensors in the AES Rear IMU Module significantly raises productivity as well as simplifies and streamlines the workflows of business people, students, and more. The AES Rear IMU Module’s ability to control devices naturally, and at a distance, allows previously individual experiences to become communal and collaborative.

Sayatake Komine, Wacom’s EVP Heading Technology Solution Business Unit, stated: “We’re consistently looking to enhance the digital pen experience for our customers and our collaboration with ST and CEVA expands the functionality of the pen in a myriad of powerful ways. Gestures, pointing, and motion control provide a natural user interface that perfectly complement our digital pens and our AES Rear IMU Module allows sensor-based features and applications to be seamlessly added to our AES pen lineup.”

“Digital pen adoption is growing at an impressive rate and should continue, driven by innovative use cases and the increasing numbers of technologies that can be packed inside the pens,” said Simone Ferri, Consumer MEMS Business Unit Director, STMicroelectronics. “The accuracy and small size of our IMU sensor and BLE SoC offer the ideal form factor to bring sensing and connectivity to the digital pen, and the reference design makes these technologies available to a wide spectrum of Wacom’s customers.”

Chad Lucien, Vice President and General Manager of the Sensor Fusion Business Unit at CEVA stated: “We’re excited to collaborate with Wacom and ST to bring our MotionEngine Air software to the digital pen market. The compact code size of our software allows it to run on the BLE MCU and provides unrivalled precision and control for motion-based applications. The innovative product we’re bringing to market as a result of this collaboration ensures that OEMs have a production-proven design they can customize at the application level to differentiate their motion-sensing digital pen design.”

You can watch a video demonstrating the advanced capabilities of a motion-sensing digital pen at