You rarely see a Microsoft Surface device being promoted without a Surface Pen. This is a key feature that is regularly talked about by the Surface team, and it is an area ready for innovation. The latest details show that the work continues to make the pen smarter.
The details come from a patent entitled “Zero Power Activation Stylus”
“… Microsoft says the stylus still uses a vibrating tip to determine when contact with the surface occurs. The patented surface pen also comes with a capsule that is designed to minimize shaft movement and the shaft runs parallel to the length of the stylus.
“The tip has two antennas and one is connected to the shaft by means of a track made of metal material. There is also a transmitter at its tip that can detect the position of the stylus tip and then quickly switch to ink mode.”
The vision of Microsoft Surface has always been built around different modes of operation. Consider the Surface Pro 2-in-1 with their removable keyboards, which allow for a tablet experience with and without qwerty input. Think about the exclusive feature of the Surface Book on a laptop with a fully detachable screen? Even in the Surface Laptop, which has no physical transformation, you can still move between inserting the stylus and moving the trackpad. Surface is for multiple modes and switching between them is quick and easy.
This includes the Surface Pen. It has two uses. The first is the more traditional stylus-based approach to computing, reproducing the ideas of a working mouse or trackpad. The second mode is ink mode, where your artistic sense can take over.
Allowing the Surface Pen to better understand when to switch modes, reduce mode switching delays, and create a “magical” experience when mixing stylus and ink mode is the natural next step that Microsoft needs to take.
As always, a published patent shows the direction a company is taking in hardware development, but does not guarantee that this technology will be seen on consumer devices. But some patents are more likely to emerge than others. This one feels like something we will see in the near future.
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