Anoto Bluetooth Digital Pen on Android OS

Anoto Group AB is a Swedish technology company which has invented, developed and licensed a product line of digital pens and a product suite to manage information capturing utilizing these (marketed as Anoto) (Source)

I recently developed a software that allows connecting such a PEN to an Android tablet using HID:

The software uses the HID protocol over bluetooth and implements the custom communication protocol required for getting the coordinates and the pressure data from the digital pen.

This way pages of text can be store in the internal memory of the PEN, or transferred wirelessly to a mobile computer for storing or further processing. There are multiple possibilities here: direct paper to technology path (for drawing a diagram and then interacting with it on the mobile phone/tablet) , on site calculations (including length, perimeter, etc), but also interactive sessions, such as group projects or even classroom lessons, as show in this video:

I cannot disclose the exact details used for communication, but I can say that the HID protocol used by Anoto comes with additional commands used to access and control the data processed by these pens. A very well organized structure, that allows downloading stored data or handling real time data, stats on memory or battery, and handwriting details such as pen pressure or coordinates .

This article has 23 Comments

  1. Cool, My BF have a plan to buy android tablet in next couple days. My questions : 1. Is this samsung galaxy phone still shipped from Korea? 2. Does it have USB port? 3. Is this android tablet worth to be owned? 4. Which is the best for browse the internet, new iPad or samsung galaxy tablet? Thank you, Suzie

  2. Hi Radu,

    Great work!! I wanted to do something similar with Anoto and Android. Is it possible for you to share your work? It would save a lot of redo work for me. Or else any pointers from where to start is also highly appreciable.


  3. I am new to Anoto technology, Basically i was interested in a text editing mobile app using Anoto, I have the sdk for windows and i think there are some apps that can help you edit text/annotate pdf on desktop but I would like to replicate that on Android. I thought if you could share your sdk implementation i would be saved from doing the underlying layer to communicate to and from the pen to mobile, and concentrate directly on the app instead.


  4. I realize this post is a bit stale now, but I would like to discuss reviving it for a different platform. Can you email me please? Thanks, Don.

  5. This project is not released as an app on the market. What exactly do you need?

  6. Hello Mr.Motisan
    I am searching an app to make my notes on my galaxy tab 10.1 with bluetooth anoto pen. I use the Maxell DP-201 and a livescribe pulse without BT. Both system are good, but did not work together with android.
    I am Fan of moleskine notebooks, but there is no android notebook with look and fell like a real tabbed black notebook.

    Alexander Pohl

  7. Dear Radu

    Thank you for sharing this video. Great work! I have a question regarding the pen that you are using. Could you please drop me an email? Thanks

  8. Dear Radu,
    I’m a PhD.student from University of Bolonga. Our research group is interested in developing applications using Anoto pens.
    We’re interested in realtime handwriting analysis, this analysis can be performed either on PC or Tablet. Could you please tell us which pen did you use? and how did you configure it to be used as HID?
    thanks for any info.

  9. Hey Radu, great work, I would like to know if it’s possible to give me an insight in how you made the connection via bluetooth.
    Started developing an android app for Anoto and can´t seem to make the connection between pen and an android phone.

    Thank you in advance!

  10. Dear Radu,

    I have the same pen, and I was wondering if you could help me gain some insight into the HID protocol.
    I’m able to capture the packets, and have decode some of the info (segment/self/book/page) but am having trouble with the coordinates.

  11. @Pedro and @Frederik , I might be able to help you by offering my consulting services if you are interested. Not sure when I would find the time for it, though.

  12. Well, I don’t actually need much of your time, if any at all. If you have some documentation on the format or a piece of code (e.g. from your android app) that parses the HID packages I can figure it out from there. I guess you mean that you want to get paid for this info? What’s your price?

  13. @Frederik, the code above is a result of investing considerable time of my life in making it happen. Giving it for free is like working for free for you or others that need it, which of course is unacceptable, unless there are certain works you are willing to do for me, for free, in return. Unfortunately at this moment I am busy, so I am afraid there is little I can do to help you. Good luck with your project, it seems you are quite close to finishing it.

  14. I understand that you put a lot of time in it. I have also put a lot of effort into getting to the point where I am now with the HID package decoding.
    I can understand that want to get paid for your work somehow. My question was more if we can come to an agreement where I get to have a look at your documentation or source code for a (hopefully not too expensive) fee. This is for a personal project and will not result in a commercial product, so I also don’t want to spend too much on it.

    Is there a reasonable price for which I can get access to the relevant documentation or code? I only need help with the HID package decoding. This way you don’t have to spend a lot of time, you get money and I can finally use my pen. Everyone happy?

  15. Hi,
    Im not sure if you can help me or not. I absolutely love e old logitech io2 pens because they upload to windows journal and then I can dynamically move the sentences around.
    the new anoto pens are static.
    This is my question. I have recently bought a windows 8 Panasonic toughbook and the logitech io2 program doesnt work with it, even in a virtual computer. I have to go from an xp computer to a thumb drive to the panasonic. any suggestions?
    also, is there anyway to print the OLD anoto paper? Live pdf doesnt work with old pens.
    Thanks in advance.

  16. yes actually I need this as a secret thought reading device you can search on labco mind buster pocket and I need something like that but I can’t afford the amount they demand for a digital pen and a sensor pad circuit in a leather wallet type pad and a pager type mini display unit I have many links of willing customers but they can’t afford as me if you can provide the same in some reasonable price and on android base please tell

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