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Microsoft might be designing modular capsule for the Surface Pen and other styli

In the past few months, a couple of patents that are quite possibly related to Microsoft's Surface Pen have emerged. These hint towards a new multi-functional variant of the stylus, as well as one that can be bent to turn into an earpiece.

The tech giant's latest patent is not a built-in technology for the Surface Pen, or other styli for that matter, but instead an additional part that can work in conjunction with these devices. This new tech is a specially-designed, modular capsule that will help enhance the functionality of styli.

Microsoft's motivation behind this move is its belief that the manufacturing of styli in their current form is costly and complicated. Furthermore, their designs are said to be quite limited in terms of space, as well as in terms of the quality of signals being transmitted through them. For this reason, the firm has seemingly diverted its attention towards an external part, or a capsule, which aims to address these disadvantages.

Cross-section of stylus incorporating capsule

The capsule, formed from plastic materials, comprises of a cylindrical housing and an antenna on its tip, as well as one on the outer surface of its housing. It may optionally include an internal or external pressure sensor to assist with the stylus' functionality. A key part of the pressure-sensing mechanism is the shaft, which runs along a longitudinal axis of the interior part of the housing, beginning from the capsule's stylus tip. Since the capsule itself would be a single entity despite the presence of movable parts, this would reduce the risk of the stylus malfunctioning.

Moreover, the previously aforementioned antenna structure could be a 'tilt' antenna that would send better-quality signals to the digitizer panel being interacted with. This could also help the panel in calculating the tilt of the stylus with respect to its plane of movement, aiding in its usage. The power mechanism already present in styli to receive power from the digitizer would be connected to the capsule via the stylus' housing.

Perspective view of capsule with part of its housing cut away

The modular nature of the capsule implies that it would not only be limited to the Surface Pen, but could instead be incorporated into a variety of styli with different designs. Assembling the capsule in these styli is also noted to be a cost-efficient and straight-forward task. In general, it will help minimize the disadvantages of current styli models like the Surface Pen, while also enhancing their functionality.

Microsoft filed this patent last year; although there's certainly no guarantee, we might see a device like this in the future. You can read more of the technical details at the source link below.

Source: USPTO

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