[Interview Video] A Collaboration Story Told by a Samsung Ukraine Researcher: How the S Pen for Foldables Evolved With AI Technology

on November 2, 2021
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This year has seen Samsung Electronics’ portfolio of high-performance foldable devices expand with the release of both the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3. In addition to the Galaxy Z Fold3 featuring a wider screen, the device has now evolved further to include an S Pen for the first time ever with a foldable phone. The inclusion of this specially engineered S Pen is allowing users to boost their productivity and ensure they are getting the most out of every moment.


But Samsung’s cutting-edge new foldable solutions couldn’t have been realized without the hard work and collaborative efforts of Samsung’s global network of engineers. Among other accomplishments, these employees were able to incorporate advanced technologies like AI to enable drawing and writing on the Galaxy Z Fold3’s large screen, and to allow the device to convert handwriting in a range of languages into on-screen text with S Pen.


To find out more about just what went into the development of the innovative new S Pen, Newsroom spoke to Olga Radyvonenko from the Visual Intelligence Team at Samsung Research Ukraine.



Q: Can you briefly introduce the Ukrainian Research Institute and the kind of work that goes on there?


Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the key technologies of our R&D center. Our lab is focused on bringing Samsung users human-centric AI technologies that make input and interaction easy and enjoyable.



Q: The S Pen has now been applied to the Galaxy Z Fold3, making it the first of its kind among foldable smartphones. What role did you play in this process?


The major contributions of our lab to the Z Fold3 were the development of on-device deep learning technologies for handwritten content recognition and the technology for reducing S Pen input latency that combines advances in graphics and AI.



Q: What is the S Pen Software Development Kit? What particular advantages does it bring?


The S Pen Software Development Kit (SDK) is being developed by Samsung researchers and developers from many countries around the world, and we are very proud to be part of this international team. The S Pen SDK provides ways to speed up rendering and to reduce and optimize S Pen input latency. In addition, it comprises smart AI-powered features, such as recognition of handwritten text, shapes, diagrams and handwriting straightening.



Q: Given the unique function of the S Pen on the Z Fold3, was there any function of the S Pen that was developed or expanded specifically for the foldable smartphone?


As the new Z Fold3 has a massive and unique foldable display, we’ve focused on using our AI technology to optimize the S Pen experience as well as improve the latency. Thanks to our point prediction technology powered by deep learning, we are able to predict the next movement of the S Pen to minimize the delay between input and output on the screen of the Z Fold3. This, in combination with the front buffer rendering technology and unique large screen, means that our users can enjoy the most natural handwriting, note-taking and drawing on their Z Fold3.



Q: How many languages does the S Pen now support? What were some of the difficulties of expanding the number of recognized languages for the Z Fold3’s S Pen?


At this moment, the S Pen supports 88 languages in total, 14 of which were newly added in the past year.


Adding a new language for handwriting recognition requires a lot of effort. In order to achieve the world’s best level of recognition quality and speed, we have developed an advanced AI technology. This technology is based on deep learning across millions of users’ samples and language modeling for natural language processing (NLP).



Q: Do you have any special tips for making the most out of the S Pen on the Z Fold3 to share with users?


For those who love writing by hand, the S Pen To Text feature now supports writing with the S Pen directly into text fields. The handwriting is then automatically converted to text. Also, you can edit any printed text with your S Pen – for example, when correcting spacing or inserting words.


One feature that will also interest many users is Neat Shape mode. It can help you to not only draw shapes, but also build a flowchart.


Make sure to check the Tips application and not skip usage tips – there you will discover the newest S Pen and input features, and also learn how to use many other Samsung apps to their fullest potential.



Q: Looking forward, what do you think the future of the S Pen looks like? How might it evolve?


We hope to introduce more ways to support better user experiences by providing even more personalization in the near future. Our mission is to make S Pen input like writing in your notepad with a pen, but better and smarter.


Most of all, I want for as many people as possible to experience the power and convenience of the S Pen and its handwritten input capabilities. It has the potential to enhance input on a wide range of devices. We view the S Pen not only as a cool gadget, but first and foremost as an accessible and useful tool. I hope I will see the S Pen and its features casually used in education, in the workplace and in everyday life. I do believe we are set to see a revolution in input technology.


The full interview video can be viewed here:


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