TransPen & MimeoPad: A Playful Interface For Transferring a Graphic Image to Paper by Digital Rubbing

With these novel drawing tools, children and adults can use rubbing motions to transfer a digital image directly to paper and produce a drawing with a personal touch and natural texture, just as in traditional rubbing.

Enhanced Life

In about three years, people will be able to copy graphic images from a tablet PC onto paper with TransPen's digital rubbing technique. Users will enjoy the advantages of pen-based computing more intuitively. It will also be possible to commercialize TransPen & MimeoPad as children's drawing tools. Children will enjoy using TransPen to copy drawings (for example, popular cartoon characters) from RFID-embedded boards.


To develop an amusing drawing tool that makes digital rubbing possible.


The core technical innovation is the physical mechanism of the prototype. Its development presented three difficult challenges:
  • Creation of a pen that maintains its tip at a constant length.

  • Making the pen and the tablet tracker (a resonant circuit that detects signals from the tablet) coaxial, to support accurate coordinate matching.

  • At a normal drawing speed, there was a significant system delay from the moment the TransPen sensed the location of the tip to the moment the solenoid was actuated. This problem was resolved by predicting the output coordinates with a basic dead-reckoning technique.


TransPen and MimeoPad represent a new interaction style in the future of ubiquitous computing. When TransPens of the same size and shape as an ordinary pencil become possible, and the MimeoPad is transformed into furniture, tables, doors, etc., people will be able to leave graphic data on everyday objects and places, and collect the information by rubbing on it with a TransPen.


Woohun Lee
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
woohun.lee (at)


Jinhee Pak
Seoktae Kim
Hyunjung Kim
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Geehyuk Lee
Information and Communications University