Apple invents stylus capable of simulating onscreen textures through haptic feedback

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
According to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is investigating an advanced tablet stylus design capable of simulating the texture of onscreen graphics as it moves across a display surface.


Source: USPTO


Apple's patent application for a "Touch implement with haptic feedback for simulating surface texture" details a stylus input device with onboard electronics that enable it to sense contact with a touchscreen, gather information about a displayed texture and output vibratory feedback corresponding to said texture.

In some embodiments, the stylus contains contact sensors to determine when the device touches down on a target surface, while other implementations rely on capacitive sensors, pressure sensors and cameras. Sensors like photodiodes are also used to determine textures depicted onscreen, such as wood, paper, glass and more.

Alternatively, texture types may be communicated to the stylus from a host device through any suitable means, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Once a texture is ascertained, the touch implement activates a haptic feedback mechanism to relay corresponding vibrations, auditory cues or other signals to the user. Feedback profiles vary depending on texture, meaning rougher depicted textures trigger more dramatic vibrations, while surfaces like glass invoke little to no feedback.

Apple proposes a fairly granular experience in which feedback profiles dynamically change as a stylus moves over different portions of a screen's surface. For example, a user would perceive differing levels of feedback as they wrote across a scene depicting wood, parchment and glass. Further, the system is able to adjust haptic output based as it senses changes in writing pressure, angle or orientation.

In a related patent also published on Thursday, Apple outlines a stylus input that works somewhat in reverse to the method described above. Instead of simulating sensed texture through vibratory feedback, the implement uses a camera module in its tip to decipher and record physical characteristics of virtually any surface or object and reproduce those properties visually on a computing device.




In some embodiments, light bounced off an object passes through the clear tip or lens and gathered by an embedded photo sensor. Image data is sent to a connected device and processed to reproduce three-dimensional renderings that include image textures, shapes and colors. Aside from exact object reproduction, the method is ideal for capturing textures and mapping them to graphical tools in illustration, photo editing or CAD software.




Rumors suggest Apple is preparing to debut a branded stylus when it unveils a larger 12.9-inch iPad model widely expected to launch some time this year. Noted KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the initial release will be a simple model without communications capabilities or onboard sensors, with more advanced features coming in subsequent generations.

Apple's patent application for a stylus with haptic feedback was first filed for in January 2014 and credits Jason Lor, Patrick A. Carroll and Dustin J. Verhoeve as its inventors. The company's texture-reading patent application cites the same inventors, along with Glen A. Rhodes.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    When the world sees the Apple stylus, it will make the Samsung Note stylus look like something fit to clean out ear wax.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    This really is great news for creatives.

    The '? stylus - Adobe' combo is going to redefine computing for us, making the iPad Pro an integral part of our creative process.

    And curiously, Adobe hasn't updated its [URL=http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adobe-Slide-Creative-Connected-Stylus/dp/B00QJ7XMTE]ink & slide[/URL] yet ...
  • Reply 3 of 17
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    How many pen patents does Apple have now? :lol:
  • Reply 4 of 17
    thrangthrang Posts: 1,024member
    Battery life?
  • Reply 5 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,329member

    Pretty clever. I can imagine a number of uses for this.

  • Reply 6 of 17
    Based on similar products (there are a few out there) at least a days worth of battery life is easy to achieve. Most last days. I believe that as long as it can get you through the day and put into a charger over night should be adequate for most.

    Open to hear other views on this.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Now you are gonna need to charge your pen. The S-pen on the Note series are better. They feature a button, have great pressure sensitivity and won't require a battery
  • Reply 8 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    "Noted KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo ..."

    ????
  • Reply 9 of 17
    portcityportcity Posts: 68member
    Apple loves it's accessories. Even more the company loves charging a pretty penny for them. A stylus will probably cost at least $80 and be released with the iPad Pro.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    If Apple does release a pen I hope it's not limited to just an iPad pro. I could see a lot of people finding it useful for notetaking and especially if their iPad is becoming their clipboard. An iPad Pro is it really suited for those things as it will be much bigger and heavier.

  • Reply 11 of 17
    iobserveiobserve Posts: 97member
    portcity wrote: »
    Apple loves it's accessories. Even more the company loves charging a pretty penny for them. A stylus will probably cost at least $80 and be released with the iPad Pro.

    Have you seen the patents Apple has for a stylus? If it's anything like 1/10th of the patents $80 would be a steal. This thing is going to be revolutionary.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    iobserve wrote: »
    Have you seen the patents Apple has for a stylus? If it's anything like 1/10th of the patents $80 would be a steal. This thing is going to be revolutionary.

    I was going to say the same thing.

    Think $200 - 250ish. For those that need, want, and can put it to good use... better than a Wacom.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    When the world sees the Apple stylus, it will make the Samsung Note stylus look like something fit to clean out ear wax.

    I guess a lot of nobodies were born since 2010, because those were the only ones that want a stylus.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member

    This idea looks like a Galaxy Note on steroids.

     

    Yes please. I would love an iPhone with this.

  • Reply 15 of 17
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,304member
    I wonder what Steve Jobs would say about this.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BlueFire1 View Post



    I wonder what Steve Jobs would say about this.



    He's already said what he had to say. 

    He told the guys at Apple never to sit back and think of what he'd do and say and run Apple the way they think is the best.

  • Reply 17 of 17
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    I guess a lot of nobodies were born since 2010, because those were the only ones that want a stylus.

    The tablet market is shrinking. It is being squeezed on one side by laptops getting lighter and with all day battery life, and on the other side by phones getting bigger screens. Maybe Apple sees the stylus as a way to differentiate tablets again.

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