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Microsoft documents confirm futuristic surface plans

It’s rare to see a Microsoft Surface device promoted without its Surface Pen. It’s a key feature the Surface team talks about regularly, and it’s a ripe area for innovation. The latest details show that work continues to create a smarter pen.

The details come from a patent titled “Stylus for Zero Force Activation”

; and detail a way to improve the Surface Pen’s ability to know when to switch to inking mode. Mayank Parmar reports:

“… Microsoft says the stylus still uses a vibrating tip to determine when contact with a surface occurs. The patented Surface Pen also features a capsule designed to minimize movement of the shaft and shaft. runs parallel to the length of the stylus.

“The tip has two antennas and one is connected to the shaft using a metal material rail. There is also a transmitter located in its tip and it can sense the position of the stylus tip, and then quickly switch to ink mode.”

Microsoft’s Surface vision has always been built around different ways of working. Think of the Surface Pro 2-in-1s with their detachable keyboards that allowed for a tablet experience with and without qwerty input. Think about the outstanding Surface Book feature of a laptop with a fully removable screen? Even in the Surface Laptop, which doesn’t have a physical transformation, you can still switch between pen input and trackpad gestures. Surface is about multiple modes and switching between them quickly and easily.

This includes the Surface Pen. It has two modes of use. The first is the more traditional stylus-based computing approach, which replicates the ideas of a working mouse or trackpad. The second mode is the ink mode, where your artistic talent can take over.

Allowing the Surface Pen to better understand when to switch modes, reduce the delay in switching modes, and create a “magical” experience by mixing stylus and ink modes is a natural next step for Microsoft to take.

As always, a published patent shows the direction a company is taking with hardware development, but does not guarantee that this technology will be seen on consumer devices. But some patents are more likely to manifest than others. This looks like something we’ll see in the near future.

Now read more about the latest Surface Duo issues …

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