Apple patents smart pen for capturing digital copies of handwritten notes

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
Apple was granted yet another stylus design patent on Tuesday, this time coming in the form of a smart pen capable of detecting hand movements for translation into digital line drawings and text.


Source: USPTO


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,922,530 for a "Communicating stylus," which outlines a smart writing utensil that uses accelerometers, wireless communication hardware and onboard storage to transfer hand-written notes and drawings onto the display of a digital device.

A number of companies have created similar products, the most relevant being Livescribe's "smartpen," though few boast the complete complement of advanced technology set forth by Apple's design. The Livescribe 3, for example, uses an infrared camera located in its tip to capture handwriting, which is then stored onboard or offloaded via Bluetooth. The process requires specialized paper, a relatively large chassis and a copious amount of power.

Apple's stylus is based on efficient accelerometers or other motion-sensing hardware. In practice, Apple's pen activates only when picked up, its nib is pressed to paper, withdrawn from a dock or manually turned on by the user. From there, onboard sensors track position changes in relation to an initial zero point, allowing the device to send realtime data for translation and graphical representation on an iOS device's screen.

The stylus can be configured to transmit movement data after a certain amount is collected, at predefined intervals or continuously, depending on user need. Another option is sending out stylus data to multiple devices, perhaps as meeting notes.




For example, if the stylus were being used on a whiteboard, perhaps in a large classroom setting, the operator may require realtime reproduction for displaying output on a larger digital display. It should be noted that Apple's invention can be fitted with multiple accelerometers to measure movement in three dimensions, thus producing an accurate digital copy of stylus motion at any angle, whether it be on a desk, wall or in the air.

Other instances may not call for instant playback, such as note taking, in which case the stylus may save movement data onboard or conduct burst transmissions to save energy. Apple points out that a user can transmit data to a computing device that remains in their pocket or bag, a seamless solution for saving digital backups of physical notes.

Alternative embodiments include multiple transmitter and receiver configurations for location triangulation, embedded magnetometers for gathering orientation data and various nib layouts for writing with ink, graphite and other materials. Also noted is a capacitive version that can be used with as a traditional iPad stylus.




As with other Apple patents regarding styli, the prospect of one actually making it to production is slim considering the enormous efforts put into a multitouch interface. The technology to build a "communicating stylus" has long been available should Apple decide to build such a device. Indeed, most of the hardware mentioned in the patent are already being used in current-generation iPhones and iPads.

Apple's smart pen patent was first filed for in January 2010 and credits Aleksandar Pance as its inventor.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    [quote]
    Acceleration measurement with an instrumented pen for signature verification and handwriting analysis
    [/quote]
    http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=46414&url=http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=46414

    Prior art will kill this if it were ever to be disputed in a court I suspect. Given you already have a pen that uses accelerometers to measure its movements and communicates that information to another device, I don't see how a refinement in precision of accelerometers, allowing more finesse in terms of the data collected and conveyed, is an innovation worthy of a patent. Substituting WiFi or Bluetooth for wires is something I would think was so obvious these days it doesn't warrant a patent either.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,314member

    This is not a stylus per se, it is a compelling stand-alone product. The part about sending notes to a device at a later time is very cool.

  • Reply 3 of 19
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    I already use the equil pen, it uses infrared and blue tooth , it's quite well implemented and can simply write on any paper and can store it onboard the pen's dock for later update to the iOS. It's a proprietary format so can't edit the documents outside its own app.
  • Reply 4 of 19

    I can hope that Apple follows through with this.  I am starting to use the LiveScribe 3 to take notes and I would expect that an Apple-based solution would be more seamless in its operation and software.  

     

    I think bridging paper back into the digital world could be a real game-changer.  Instead of writing on your tablet, write on paper but you can review/process your notes on the tablet.  Very sweet!

  • Reply 5 of 19
    Why on earth would Apple work so hard to create such a potentially useful thing only to not use it? Something like this sure as hell better be apart of the iPad Pro equation.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post



    Why on earth would Apple work so hard to create such a potentially useful thing only to not use it? Something like this sure as hell better be apart of the iPad Pro equation.



    Perhaps, but better yet Apple, or 3rd parties in partnership with Apple should ensure that an iPad Pro has the ability to properly use styli. People do use them with apps like Procreate etc but I, along with many others, have been struggling to find a stylus that works well with the iPad Air and Air II. 

  • Reply 7 of 19
    macvicta wrote: »
    Why on earth would Apple work so hard to create such a potentially useful thing only to not use it? Something like this sure as hell better be apart of the iPad Pro equation.

    Inventors and companies file patents all the time because no one knows for certain what will sell or be popular or evolve into something else that is ultimately successful or useful.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    I'm going to say it first (that i know off), any Apple Pen released will also be available in 18kt gold..... that is also twice as hard ;)

    Some pens are a status symbol, like some watches.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    I'm really surprised a vibrator hasn't been invented that can be controlled from an iPhone . Imagine the possibilities esp.remotely!
  • Reply 10 of 19
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Whenever Apple gets a new patent, people seem to forget it can be years before the patent's tech makes its way into products in whatever form...  ....and re prior art, this patent puts follow-on patents to it in the same position....



    ...in tech you can never be too innovative (altho' you can come to market prematurely) or have too fat a patent portfolio....

  • Reply 11 of 19
    cnocbui wrote: »
    http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=46414&url=http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=46414

    Prior art will kill this if it were ever to be disputed in a court I suspect. Given you already have a pen that uses accelerometers to measure its movements and communicates that information to another device, I don't see how a refinement in precision of accelerometers, allowing more finesse in terms of the data collected and conveyed, is an innovation worthy of a patent. Substituting WiFi or Bluetooth for wires is something I would think was so obvious these days it doesn't warrant a patent either.

    If you paid attention to the US Patent it cites all prior art in their patent filing. After reviewing against all that they still received a patent so I imagine your dispute would be ignored.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    macvicta wrote: »
    Why on earth would Apple work so hard to create such a potentially useful thing only to not use it? Something like this sure as hell better be apart of the iPad Pro equation.

    Because
    400
  • Reply 13 of 19
    paul94544 wrote: »
    I'm really surprised a vibrator hasn't been invented that can be controlled from an iPhone . Imagine the possibilities esp.remotely!

    I'm surprised you don't know that "vibrator" mode is available for the iPhone (as well as any phone made in the last 20 years). It's so you can be notified of an incoming call without annoying those around you. What's even sweet, the other person could be calling from any phont, it don't need to be just an iPhone. Yeah, the possibilities are endless. :no:
  • Reply 14 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    I'm surprised you don't know that "vibrator" mode is available for the iPhone (as well as any phone made in the last 20 years). It's so you can be notified of an incoming call without annoying those around you. What's even sweet, the other person could be calling from any phont, it don't need to be just an iPhone. Yeah, the possibilities are endless. :no:

    Yes but how to sanitize it? :lol:
  • Reply 15 of 19
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    The patent system is totally screwed. Utterly broken. There's so much prior art that this shouldn't have even been considered. Same for most other patents presented in media as having been awarded to companies in the last ten years.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    To Paul94544, a quick search of Google https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#q=iphone controlled sex toy&search_plus_one=form and you will find your answer, the quick answer is yes, and Apple didn't like they marketing it.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Yes please! Yes please! Yes please! I want one of these! Draw on real paper and have vector art on your iPad! Yes please! Yes please! Yes please!
  • Reply 18 of 19
    dysamoria wrote: »
    The patent system is totally screwed. Utterly broken. There's so much prior art that this shouldn't have even been considered. Same for most other patents presented in media as having been awarded to companies in the last ten years.

    The patent system is fine. However, the percentage increase of whining about patents has jumped a thousand-fold.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    I%u2019ve been using an iPAd at work for two years now. I%u2019v decided to download the Beesy app to help me save time and help me get organized at work, in addition, they%u2019ve recently integrated Livescribe 3 SmartPen that you can use with digital notes; Everything I write down (actions, projects , distribution of work...) is directly sent to Beesy. If you would like to have more info about it, here is the link :http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-digital-handwriting/ I strongly recommend it to you !
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