Android pen plotter snaps, processes, and prints pictures


Here’s an Android powered pen plotter that does it all. It was built by [Ytai Ben-Tsvi] to take with him to Maker Faire. He’s the creator of IOIO, a hardware interface module designed to communicate with an Android device via USB (host or OTG are both supported).

The physical hardware is simple enough. He draws on a pad of white paper using a felt-tipped marker. Located at the top of the easel are two wheels with stars etched on them. They are reels which spool and dole-out string to control the pen’s movements. The pen tip can be lifted by a ball bearing mounted just below it.

But the project really takes off when you watch [Ytai's] demonstration. The Android tablet controlling the device captures a picture of an object — in this case it’s a toy truck. The app then processes it using edge detection to establish how to plot the image.


  1. heatgap says:

    That is badass. Well done. I like concept and how he went about using a hanging plotter. Very cool.

  2. Wout says:

    Nice! I also saw it at the maker faire, remembered it. Nice video too

  3. vonskippy says:

    And Android Impressionism is born.

  4. Med says:

    That’s really amazing ! Congrats for the great result !

  5. Spacedog says:

    I wanna make one of these, just a normal one arduino/stepper shield/PC powered. is there any open source code out there guys?

  6. kristian says:

    Everything about this is just so classy. Really nice finish. Also, was that a drinking straw on the pen mount?

    • Ytai says:

      Piece of a soap-bottle pump :)
      As someone noted, when I go “off-the-shelf” it’s actually my bathroom shelf that I’m going to.
      I always get these funny ideas when I’m anxious to get a project up and running quickly, starting to dig around the house for something good enough rather than diverge from the real project.
      I find that it gives a funny style to the result too. However, not the most robust as you might imagine… Let’s hope it survives Maker Faire at least :)

  7. trandi says:

    Nice ! I was wondering what you were up to lately… :)
    I like projects like this, that go beyond the technical aspect and have some nice and fun human interaction…


  8. Whatnot says:

    Weird, an israeli with a dutch sounding accent. – Bit off-topic perhaps, but meh.

    Anyway, I like the IOIO effort and the more projects are out there the more it’ll have support.

  9. lpanagis says:

    Ytai, I’m blown away! I’ve been trying to do something like this with my cell phone and Bluetooth but I have to say the IOIO is THE hardware for this application. Plus I like the whole concept of the “hanging plotter”. Now I have to hurry putting mine together cause my son saw his favorite Bruder crane there and want one FAST!!!
    Great job, fantastic!

  10. Awe Lucid says:

    Really great! simple elegant and effective design.

  11. Kim Skatun says:

    look at as well, i think they did something similar

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