Is this Microsoft’s fifth generation Surface Pen?

by Rahul
April 29, 2019

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The year 2017 saw Microsoft introducing the fourth generation Surface Pen which came up with improvements in pressure and tilt sensitivity.

Fast forwarding two years, it looks like Microsoft is in the mood to introduce a refresh to the existing Surface Pen. A recent Microsoft Surface Pen patent published by USPTO gave us a brief idea about new features in the fifth generation of the Surface Pen.

The patent suggests that the next-gen Surface Pen might bring improvements to the multiple device support. With the improvements coming into the play, the new Surface Pen will be able to do more than just writing on devices other than Surface.

The disclosure in some embodiments relates to an active stylus compatible with a plurality of touch-sensitive devices each configured to receive inputs having a different communication protocol or configuration. The plu- rality of touch-sensitive devices may include various types of devices, such as a smartphone, a PC, and a smart TV, and may include different versions or brands of the same type of device. In some example embodiments, a user may communicate with the stylus with one of the plurality of touch-sensitive devices and seamlessly switch between the devices.

Furthermore, Microsoft introduced an automatic search protocol, and as the name suggests, this will let the Surface Pen to search for a variety of possible digitizer systems. Also, the pen will be able to track the usage and can learn from that, as a result of which the pen will be able to know which devices should be searched for more often.

In accordance with one aspect of some embodiments, a search protocol is provided for recognizing the digitizer system with which a stylus interacts. The search protocol can search for any of a variety of possible digitizer systems. Search protocol timings and timeouts for each digitizing system can be dynamically updated based on a calculated probability that the digitizing system is communicating with the stylus. The dynamic update of the search protocol described herein may be useful to reduce power consumption and processing time of the stylus while maintaining the ability of the stylus to seamlessly switch between communication with a variety of different devices.

Another interesting feature in the Pen is the ability to create a profile for each device. The profile will store various configuration which in turn will eliminate the need to set up the same configuration again and again while switching to a different device.

For seamless switching, the user does not have to actively address the stylus, eg, he does not have to press any buttons on the stylus to change the configuration.

The patent was first spotted by WindowsUnited.

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