Microsoft already has a history with fabrics on their Surface products, covering both the Surface Laptop and a variety of Surface keyboards and accessories in Alcantara.
Now Microsoft has applied for a patent which would make this fabric do a bit more than make your device stylish.
The patent for ‘FORMING TOUCH SENSOR ON FABRIC’ was applied for on the July 2017 and published by USPTO on January 24, 2019 and would see Microsoft implement a touch sensor into the fabric of the device, allowing the back of the device to detect swipes or other touch gestures. These gestures could allow users to browse through apps, adjust volume, settings and other functions.
Microsoft has been working on so-called “back touch” for some time now, usually in the context of their dual-screened “Surface Phone.”
Microsoft, however, notes that the touch-sensitive smart fabric can also be used on wearables such as the HoloLens to easily add other modes of interaction.
As usual, we do not know if this feature will ever get into a real product, but it may be a cool way to differentiate Microsoft’s tablets from the competition.
The full patent can be seen here.