Design and evaluation approach for increasing stability and performance of touch pens in screen handwriting tasks

Fong Gong Wu, Shuyi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Touch pens allow user to write directly on a computer screen. An ergonomically designed touch pen can improve user performance and reduce musculoskeletal injuries. This study investigates the touch pen use in three sections. First, observations of users' handwriting during three screen tasks: writing, pointing-and-clicking and drawing. Second, examinations of the design and development of touch pens based on observed results and related design theory. Third, this study compares the five-point grip pen (FPGP) with the common touch pen. Study conclusions are as follows: (1) The gesture of gripping a common touch pen for on-screen handwriting is unnatural; that is, users tend to use the wrist, elbow or little finger for support. A user's hand and fingers are in a more natural position when using an FPGP. (2) User performance with the FPGP is superior to that with the common touch pen during three screen tasks. (3) The advantages of the FPGP include: increased hand stability, reduced hand fatigue, enhanced performance, and provided adjustability. (4) This study proposed an FPGP whereby a brace was added to a touch pen to increase the stability during screen-based tasks. The idea of adding a brace can be applied to those tasks requiring higher accuracy or continuous freehand without other limb support tasks, such as wall-painting, surgery operation, and other aiming tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

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