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Sensors 2013, 13(4), 5099-5108; doi:10.3390/s130405099

A Low-Cost, Computer-Interfaced Drawing Pad for fMRI Studies of Dysgraphia and Dyslexia

Instrument Development Lab, Center on Human Development and Disability, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Integrated Brain Imaging Center, Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 March 2013 / Revised: 10 April 2013 / Accepted: 11 April 2013 / Published: 17 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical & Biological Imaging)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [877 KB, uploaded 21 June 2014]   |  


We have developed a pen and writing tablet for use by subjects during fMRI scanning. The pen consists of two jacketed, multi-mode optical fibers routed to the tip of a hollowed-out ball-point pen. The pen has been further modified by addition of a plastic plate to maintain a perpendicular pen-tablet orientation. The tablet is simply a non-metallic frame holding a paper print of continuously varying color gradients. The optical fibers are routed out of the MRI bore to a light-tight box in an adjacent control room. Within the box, light from a high intensity LED is coupled into one of the fibers, while the other fiber abuts a color sensor. Light from the LED exits the pen tip, illuminating a small spot on the tablet, and the resulting reflected light is routed to the color sensor. Given a lookup table of position for each color on the tablet, the coordinates of the pen on the tablet may be displayed and digitized in real-time. While simple and inexpensive, the system achieves sufficient resolution to grade writing tasks testing dysgraphic and dyslexic phenomena. View Full-Text
Keywords: fMRI; MRI-compatible; dygraphia; dyslexia; lexical; handwriting; LabVIEW fMRI; MRI-compatible; dygraphia; dyslexia; lexical; handwriting; LabVIEW

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Reitz, F.; Richards, T.; Wu, K.; Boord, P.; Askren, M.; Lewis, T.; Berninger, V. A Low-Cost, Computer-Interfaced Drawing Pad for fMRI Studies of Dysgraphia and Dyslexia. Sensors 2013, 13, 5099-5108.

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