Lazy Pen combines word processing with the personal touch of handwriting

This project distorts your typeface as you write using moving palettes placed beneath your palms.

With the advent of digital technology, it’s safe to say that cursive writing has become a lost art — no longer used by adults, most likely not being taught to children. It’s a shame, though, as there’s just something about the emotional aspect associated with putting a pen to paper.


After receiving several notes from his grandmother, Maker Nicolas Nahornyj decided to combine the practical side of computer-based word processing with the personal touch of a good ol’ handwritten letter. To accomplish this, he developed a keyboard extension that allowed him to modulate his writing and produce his own typography in real-time.

Created at ECAL, the aptly named Lazy Pen enables him to distort the typeface as he writes using a set of moving palettes placed beneath his palms that transform “vertical and horizontal motions into kneecap movements.” The project is comprised of two parts: a removable recessed block for the keyboard and a desk with two trestles and a drawer for his MacBook. Meanwhile, a pair of joysticks taken from a remote control plane are used to accurately log the data.


“When you move your finger left or right on this keyboard, all the keys move like the Ondes Martenot music instrument,” the Maker explains.

In order to define the basic makeup of each letter, he devised a Processing application that allowed him to manipulate and modify their shapes. He then connected the app to an Arduino board tasked with collating and converting the raw analog data from the joysticks into digital information that could be interpreted by the “Adobe Illustrator-like software.”

Intrigued? Check out the Maker’s project page here, or see it in action below!

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