Microsoft files a lot of patent applications, and of course many of them won't result in products that actually arrive to market. One patent application seen last month that is expected to result in a new product, however, was for the Surface Pro 7. On occasion, the patents do tip some future devices and give us a glimpse of the tech we may be using years down the road. Today, A new Microsoft patent has surfaced titled "Dynamic Interaction Adaptation of a Digital Inking Device." Sounds juicy and it is.
The patent is for a next-gen Surface Pen that is fitted with an OLED display on one side of its barrel. The patent application was filed in late 2017 but was published by the USPTO earlier this week, on June 13, 2019. The thought behind the OLED panel is to offer a small display on the stylus that could address some of the issues that are seen with the current Surface Pen.
The display could do things like show current battery life or what mode the Surface Pen is in. The patent app does talk about techniques to enable "dynamic device interaction adaptation" of the stylus. That means different interactions for the stylus depending on things like how it's held or how far from the screen it is. In addition, the patent filing also talks about the stylus being able to select specific modes depending on the fingerprint of the user. The line art in the patent application shows the display giving visual indications of the line types and thicknesses available, which thickness is selected for the stylus at that time and more. The stylus could also change modes depending on how tightly it's held or the pressure between a digital inking device and the pen.
What's also interesting is that the pen also has an input area where gestures could be recognized, allowing the changing of line thickness on the stylus rather than in software, for example. The PDF of the Microsoft patent application can be seen here.