Multitouch screens on smartphones and tablets are all the rage these days. But Microsoft is looking at bringing multitouch functionality to another tool: a digital pen.

The company has applied for a patent on a multitouch ePen that changes its function depending on how you hold it.

Microsoft multitouch pen patent

You’d still be able to use the pen to write or draw on a tablet screen, much the way you can with existing digital pens for Windows 8 (or Android) tablets. But according to a patent application uncovered by Patent Bolt, this new type of multitouch ePen would have touch sensors built into its case.

It would also have a gyroscope, compass, acceleration, and other sensors.

That means you could grip the pen like a normal pen or pencil for writing. But you could change your grip and use it like an eraser or a razor blade in drawing programs. The patent application even shows one drawing of a hand holding the pen like a flute to make music.

There’s no word on if or when we’ll ever actually see a pen with these features.

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3 replies on “Microsoft patent describes a multitouch digital pen”

  1. Am I the only one who finds this idea a little absurd/implausible? As if we geeks don’t have enough to aggravate our repetitive stress injuries already. What’s next, a keyboard/mouse glove with artificially created resistance when you hold your fingers like a pen to form an invisible stylus that you will never misplace with a hovering onscreen proximity/pressure indicator? Actually, that sounds pretty cool. Damn, I should have patented that before blurting it out loud. Oh well. You can have it MS, Appl, Goog, Greedy Capitalist Pigs.

    1. I’m actually thinking about a more simple implementation… gesturesthat take the place of buttons on the pen. Slide your finger up and down the shaft of the pen to zoom, double-tap the pen to right-click or double-click. That way you don’t have to hold the pen a particular way to be able to get its full functions – which could reduce repetitive stress.

    2. Repetitive stress injuries are caused by repetitive motions, but a multitouch pen would mean more variation of usage and thus less repetitiveness!

      Besides, there are usages that a pen is actually better for than the alternatives.

      Pressure sensitivity, precise motion control, better matching hand motion to results, etc.

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