Apple has designed and patented a new stylus that will digitize drawings and notes drawn on physical paper. This will appeal to authors who prefer to write their novels or designers who have a brilliant idea while jotting something down on a napkin.
The new patent Apple was awarded will translate notes written down on papers to an iPhone or iPad. It also details various exchangeable tips for the stylus, including actual ink, markers for a whiteboard, or a rubberized nub akin to most popular tablet styli. The stylus activates when various motion-sensing hardware, including accelerometers, detects when the pen is picked up out of its dock, pressed to a writing surface, or simply turned on manually.
Thanks to motion sensors able to detect a 3D plane, the stylus uses an initial zero point to transmit the movement and flow of handwriting as varying changes in position to the desired computing device. This technology also means an actual surface isn’t needed to transmit data — simply writing notes in the air would suffice. The patent even details ways for users to choose how the data is transmitted, including continuously or at chosen intervals, allowing battery life to be preserved.
I think a smart stylus is a great idea. It would certainly have a place in schools, as students continue to make notes on paper, while preserving a digital backup for editing. I think authors, designers and artists might find this technology especially compelling.