Apple shows interest in iOS stylus with optical sensor, haptic feedback

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has explored building different kids of styluses compatible with the iPhone and iPad, including an optical stylus, and a handheld pointer with haptic feedback.

Apple's interest was detailed in a pair of patent applications published this week and discovered by AppleInsider. The first, entitled Haptic Input Device, shows a pen that could receive input from a touch-based device like an iPhone, while the second, Optical Stylus, would feature a camera pressure sensor for more precise control.

In the haptic stylus filing, Apple notes that with a traditional touchscreen device, users can only feel "the rigid surface of the touch screen," rather than sensing textures, individual icons and other objects represented digitally on the screen. A solution to this could be a stylus with haptic feedback.

"An input device capable of generating haptic feedback may help a user navigate content displayed on the screen, and may further serve to enhance the content of various applications by creating a more appealing and realistic user interface," the filing reads, noting that haptic feedback could be provided with any force, vibration or motion that could be sensed by the user.

Apple has shown considerable interest in haptic feedback with iOS devices in recent patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. One filing unveiled earlier this week described a system that would allow users to feel textures with their fingertips, while another filing from March presented a concept that would use actuators to provide haptic feedback, and also measure the force with which a user touches an iPhone or iPad screen.

Patent 1


Apple's second patent filing discovered this week for an optical stylus notes that traditional, plastic styluses cannot be used to register input on a capacitive touchscreen like is found on the iPhone or iPad. In addition, styluses offer a point smaller than a finger tip, which can give users more precise control.

Apple's optical stylus would include a sensor, such as a camera, that would determine a location and movement of the stylus relative to the touchscreen. The stylus could be configured to either transmit location and movement to the computing device, or to process and filter the location and movement prior to transmission, rather than sending raw data.

"The relative position of the optical stylus may be determined based on indicia detectable by the optical stylus," the filing reads. "The indicia may further be used in determining the movement of the optical stylus. The indicia may include pixel dependent indicia that are communicated via the pixels displayed by the touch screen or physical or permanent indicia that are physically present on or in the screen.... (that) are imperceptible to the human eye."

Patent 2


Apple's patent filings have previously shown the company's behind-the-scenes takes on styluses for touchscreen devices. One concept discovered last year described concepts such as a "heated stylus" for more precise interaction.

Despite continued stylus-based patent filings from Apple, the prospect of an official Apple stylus for the iPhone or iPad has been largely dismissed because of comments made by the company disparaging stylus-driven user interfaces. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously said: "If you see a stylus, they blew it."

The haptic stylus filing revealed this week was first filed by Apple with the USPTO in November of 2010, and is credited to inventors Aleksandar Pance and Omar Sze Leung. The optical stylus application was also filed in November of 2010 and includes Leung as an inventor, as well as David I. Simon and David Amm.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    meniacmeniac Posts: 9member


    I thought the next step would be Leap Motion. Apple have already dropped the stylus.

  • Reply 2 of 45
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member


    Samsung Note suddenly not looking so silly.

     

  • Reply 3 of 45


    The idea of haptic feedback via a stylus is very interesting.  

  • Reply 4 of 45
    kpomkpom Posts: 653member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    Samsung Note suddenly not looking so silly.

     





    It has sold surprisingly well. That said, this might have a bigger impact on the iPad, perhaps for artists and graphic designers. I'm still not convinced any stylus or tablet will ever completely replace pencil and paper for note taking.

  • Reply 5 of 45
    rabbit_coachrabbit_coach Posts: 1,114member


    Nah, it's one of those 90% of Apple's filings which will never go in to production. 


    And Samesungs Note still looks ridiculous. But to each his own. 

  • Reply 6 of 45
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    [CODE]A stylus is great for some purposes, but their biggest drawback is that they get lost. I've probably gone through 5 myself. I'd hate for them to have been expensive ones like this.[/CODE]
  • Reply 7 of 45
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    Samsung Note suddenly not looking so silly.
    Sure it does! It's a 5.3" Frankenphone that's too small to be a tablet and too large to be a phone.

    What doesn't look silly is having the option for a sensitive stylus as an alternative means of input for certain functions. Steve Jobs never said one should never use a stylus. It's like saying one should never use an ink pen because we have computer keyboards. There are certainly times when styli are the preferred method.

    The problem comes when you try to make them the primary method as we saw with resistive touchscreens preceding the iPhone. You can't seriously tell me you disagree with Jobs on there can you?

    I hope they bring this to iDevices with Wacom's tech as this patent doesn't look impressive to me.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Sure it does! It's a 5.3" Frankenphone that's too small to be a tablet and too large to be a phone.

    Exactly. I laugh every time I hear their ad saying that it's the best of both worlds. More like 'worst of both worlds'.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    misamisa Posts: 827member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KPOM View Post




    It has sold surprisingly well. That said, this might have a bigger impact on the iPad, perhaps for artists and graphic designers. I'm still not convinced any stylus or tablet will ever completely replace pencil and paper for note taking.



    The Samsung Note is somewhat silly, but it's in the right direction (it's laggy, even in the ads.) The problem with a stylus is that in the earlier PDA era, they were used to drive the entire interface, if you lost the stylus, you were forced to use your finger, which was too wide to peck at the 3mm sized UI controls. In that aspect, yes any device that is driven by a stylus is a failure. Look no further than the Nintendo DS/DSi/3DS to see where a stylus works and does not work correctly. It doesn't work well in any game, but wow it's fun to use the Swap Note program.


     


    A stylus only works well for two specific applications:


    - Drawing (eg pencil/pen/paint, typically what you'd do with photoshop, illustrator and autocad), where on the desktop you'd use a graphics tablet, nobody can lug around a Cintiq. The Cintiq wasn't even possible until LCD's became large and cheap enough.


    - Handwriting, as in signature capture. (Like the Square credit card reader app)


     


    Ever since the iPad came out, artists have been demanding a pressure-sensitive stylus to go with it. Wacom probably still has patents on the battery-less stylus (this is why nobody else makes a good graphics tablet.)

  • Reply 10 of 45
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    A stylus is great for some purposes, but their biggest drawback is that they get lost. I've probably gone through 5 myself. I'd hate for them to have been expensive ones like this.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,072member


    The problem with a stylus and the reason it'll have a hard time replacing pen & paper is, the distance from the tip to the actual image.

  • Reply 12 of 45
    gustavgustav Posts: 826member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Misa View Post


    The Samsung Note is somewhat silly, but it's in the right direction (it's laggy, even in the ads.) The problem with a stylus is that in the earlier PDA era, they were used to drive the entire interface, if you lost the stylus, you were forced to use your finger, which was too wide to peck at the 3mm sized UI controls. In that aspect, yes any device that is driven by a stylus is a failure. Look no further than the Nintendo DS/DSi/3DS to see where a stylus works and does not work correctly. It doesn't work well in any game, but wow it's fun to use the Swap Note program.



     


    That's just plain false. It doesn't work well in some games. But in others, it's pretty much mandatory. Take Meteos for example. That's a game the requires direct manipulation, but you'd need a very large screen to use a finger. A stylus is perfectly suitable.


     


    Brain Age and similar games are also perfectly suited.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Meniac View Post


    I thought the next step would be Leap Motion. Apple have already dropped the stylus.



     


    Leap Motion is gimmicky. Your arms will get tired from using that all day.

  • Reply 13 of 45
    gustavgustav Posts: 826member



    Quote:



    Originally Posted by GQB View Post



    A stylus is great for some purposes, but their biggest drawback is that they get lost. I've probably gone through 5 myself. I'd hate for them to have been expensive ones like this.


     


    I would say that's your drawback, not the stylus'. Figure out why you keep losing them, and fix the problem.

  • Reply 14 of 45
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,170member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Sure it does! It's a 5.3" Frankenphone that's too small to be a tablet and too large to be a phone.

    What doesn't look silly is having the option for a sensitive stylus as an alternative means of input for certain functions. Steve Jobs never said one should never use a stylus. It's like saying one should never use an ink pen because we have computer keyboards. There are certainly times when styli are the preferred method.

    The problem comes when you try to make them the primary method as we saw with resistive touchscreens preceding the iPhone. You can't seriously tell me you disagree with Jobs on there can you?

    I hope they bring this to iDevices with Wacom's tech as this patent doesn't look impressive to me.


    Is using a stylus mandatory with the Note? I didn't think it was, instead being a convenience feature with the OS enhanced to improve stylus use.

  • Reply 15 of 45
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post


     


    Leap Motion is gimmicky. Your arms will get tired from using that all day.



     


    It's not clear that you need to hold your hands in the air....


     


    It is possible that it could detect the movement of your fingers on a flat surface (table, desk, etc.) and simulate the action of a keyboard,

  • Reply 16 of 45
    hellacoolhellacool Posts: 759member


    Man that must sucks that so many bought a Note and found it to be so horrible, or they are simply making statements with zero knowledge also known as ignorant statements?  I do not own one so I can not comment but based on all the positive feedback and the sales numbers it seems like this device has found a market.  The stylus is appealing and one with feedback even more so.

     

  • Reply 17 of 45
    hellacoolhellacool Posts: 759member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Sure it does! It's a 5.3" Frankenphone that's too small to be a tablet and too large to be a phone.

    What doesn't look silly is having the option for a sensitive stylus as an alternative means of input for certain functions. Steve Jobs never said one should never use a stylus. It's like saying one should never use an ink pen because we have computer keyboards. There are certainly times when styli are the preferred method.

    The problem comes when you try to make them the primary method as we saw with resistive touchscreens preceding the iPhone. You can't seriously tell me you disagree with Jobs on there can you?

    I hope they bring this to iDevices with Wacom's tech as this patent doesn't look impressive to me.




    5 Million in 5 months as of March seems legit.  So being that it is not a cheap Android phone ($249 with contract) it must have some other form of appeal for those 5 million.  I am looking into it.  I travel allot and currently carry my phone and iPad, would be nice not to have too carry two devices.

  • Reply 18 of 45
    banalltvbanalltv Posts: 238member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Misa View Post


    Ever since the iPad came out, artists have been demanding a pressure-sensitive stylus to go with it. Wacom probably still has patents on the battery-less stylus (this is why nobody else makes a good graphics tablet.)



     


    A proper pressure-sensitive stylus would finally make the iPad worth considering for proper work for me, until then I have to stick to the Wacom. I've used another popular iPad stylus and was very disappointed with the experience and the results.


     


    I used an Aiptek graphics tablet on my OS9 mac happily and for years. It was cheap (about IR£140, pre-Euro, I've heard of another brand even cheaper but cannot vouch for the results) and large (larger than A4 drawing area) with a pressure-sensitive 2xAA or 2xAAA battery-containing stylus. The only drawback was that the batteries had to be changed every so often. That wasn't the biggest drawback, it was the ONLY drawback and a trivial one at that.


     


    It worked just great and gave as fine and sensitive a detail as anything I've got from any Wacom (I've used 3 types) but there were no OSX drivers for it so I had to buy a far more expensive Wacom when I upgraded.


     


    The Aiptek worked really well and I think Aiptek could have sold a lot more of them if they'd bothered to make drivers. I'd maybe still be using it today.

  • Reply 19 of 45
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,670member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Hellacool View Post




    5 Million in 5 months as of March seems legit.  So being that it is not a cheap Android phone ($249 with contract) it must have some other form of appeal for those 5 million.  I am looking into it.  I travel allot and currently carry my phone and iPad, would be nice not to have too carry two devices.



    Wait for the 8" iPad / pod. With Siri, a good set of head phones with mic (so you won't look like a dork with a giant phone) + some largish pockets you're good to go. There are some half decent pen options for iDevices, which I know you are aware of. 

  • Reply 20 of 45
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Sure it does! It's a 5.3" Frankenphone that's too small to be a tablet and too large to be a phone.

    ...


    Are you sure he didn't mean this:


     


    http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/27/samsung-galaxy-note-10.1/

Sign In or Register to comment.