Who said the patent wars are waning? News is that Apple just got a patent for a stylus, which is of course being dubbed the “iPen” by some; and Apple being Apple, the hype around the iPen is that it is not just a stylus – it goes beyond drawing on a touch display. Maybe it doubles as a sonic screwdriver, too!
In all seriousness, though, the awarded patent highlights “stylus orientation detection”:
Stylus orientation detection is disclosed. In an example, the orientation of a stylus relative to a contacting surface, e.g., a touch panel, can be detected by detecting a capacitance at one or more locations on the stylus relative to the surface, and then using the capacitance(s) to determine the orientation of the stylus relative to the surface. In another example, the orientation of a stylus relative to a contacting surface, e.g., a touch panel, can be detected by first detecting the orientation of the stylus relative to a reference, detecting the orientation of the contacting surface relative to the reference, and then calculating the orientation of the stylus relative to the contacting surface using the two detected orientations.
In short: the patent shows clues that the iPen is going to be more than a passive tool. With the orientation sensor integrated in the stylus, the nature of your drawing/handwriting on the screen will be more realistic – just like a real pen’s results depend on how you hold it (the angle, etc.).
I’m sure there are a lot of possibilities here, but I can’t help but get stuck on Draw Something. Is that still alive anyway?