Microsoft’s Surface Dial is part of a new category of peripherals – dubbed “pucks” – that the firm created alongside the Surface Studio. Much like the Surface Pen, it is not a generally essential part of using a PC, but for certain categories of users, it can prove invaluable. With a form factor based on a rotate action (or gesture), the Surface Dial is intended as a secondary, multi-modal input device that complements input from a primary device. In most cases, the device is manipulated by a user’s non-dominant hand while performing a task with their dominant hand (such as inking with a pen).
A recent patent submitted by Microsoft reveals that we might see a ‘transparent’ Surface Dial in the future. When you place the current Surface Dial on a screen, any image that is visually present below the Dial cannot be seen by the user. This might cause inconvenience in many cases. Microsoft is proposing an at least partially transparent Surface Dial accessory. The Dial will have an image transfer structure that will relay or transfer the content on the touch display to the top of the Dial. Since the Dial will have a capacitive marker that can be recognized by the touch display, the touch display will visually present the content in alignment with the image transfer structure present in the Dial accessory.
You can read the full patent here.