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Microsoft Research packs stylus with sensors for grip-based tools

Billy Steele
October 6, 2014
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Believe it or not, there has been limited research into the way we hold a pen for different writing tasks. A team at Microsoft Research has taken aim at those fine motor skills with a prototype stylus and tablet combo. The duo packs in inertial sensors to track the position of each while in use. A multi-touch grip sensor wraps the outside of the stylus that not only monitors how its held, but can also initiate tasks with a mere finger tap. Sure, button controls have long been built into styli, however this effort investigates the grip as a means of swapping between tasks. During the test, holding the pen-like peripheral a certain way accesses a specific tool set or keeps a resting palm from prohibiting movement with the other hand. On the tablet, the sensors can tell when the slate is being passed off to another user -- swapping to that person's fine-tuned presets automatically. Of course, all of this is still in the research phase, but enhanced touch recognition for stylus-driven devices like the Surface Pro 3 would certainly be a welcome boost.

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