Arduino, Processing
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Lazy Pen – Combining word processing with the emotion of one’s handwriting


Created by Nicolas Nahornyj at ECAL (Bachelor Media & Interaction Design), Lazy Pen is an attempt to combine the practical side of computer-based word processing with the emotional aspect of one’s handwriting. The tool allows the user to distort the typeface as they write, using the moving palettes placed beneath their palms. The goal is to be able to produce one’s own typography in real time, thus offering a more personal touch.

The installation is presented as a desk with two parts to it: a removable recessed block (black) and a solid desk with two trestles with a drawer for the computer a hidden away. MacBook Pro with custom built application sits inside the desk while the 3d-printed components user operates with his hands protrude through the removable keyboard block. This mecanism transform the vertical an horizontal movements into kneecap movements.

↑ Custom Processing application used to define the basic shape of each letter (left). Shape gradient of letter “f” on the version 1 of the software (right).

To define the skeleton of each letter, Nicolas needed to develop a tool that allowed him to create parametric shapes that can be distorted and modified on the go. The result was a Processing application that manipulates the vector skeleton of which letters are made of. Then he connected the Processing application to Arduino which role is to convert raw analog data from the 2 joysticks to digital datas which can be interpreted by the Processing application.

Project Page | ECAL

Project by ECAL/Nicolas Nahornyj
Tutors: Alain Bellet, Cyril Diagne, Gael Hugo, Christophe Guignard, Vincent Jacquier
Assistants : Matthieu Minguet, Laura Perrenoud, Tibor Udvari
ECAL / University of Art and Design, Lausanne Switzerland
Music : “KDR Assault” by Binärpilot (

↑ One of the two prototypes Nicolas designed with one actuator controlling each letter. When a user moves their finger left or right on this keyboard, all the keys are moving like the Ondes Martenot music instrument.