When Steve Jobs first announced the revolutionary touch screen on the iPhone, one if the things he said was, “Who needs a stylus?” This was during a time when you couldn’t just tap a screen to get what you wanted. Mobile devices required a stylus and Apple freed us of those restrictions. Although the iPad works great with the tips of your fingers, we all know that a stylus can be a great improvement for handwritten notes, sketching, and even painting. Apple knows this too and recently applied for a patent on the design of an “Active Stylus” that would “significantly improve stylus sensing on a mutual capacitive touch sensor panel without incurring significant additional cost.”
U.S. Patent Application 20120327041, simply called “Active Stylus” is for the design of a stylus that includes an electrode at the tip and powered circuitry couple to the electrode that is configured for capacitively coupling the electrode with a capacity touch sensor panel.
According to the patent summary, traditional styluses work passively by blocking electric field line between the drive and sense electrodes. Apple considers the design in the patent as “active” because it can act as either a drive electrode to create an electric field between it and the sense lines of the sensor panel, or as a sense electrode for sensing the signals from one or more stimulated drive rows and columns of the sensor panel.
Although Jobs saw the touch panel as a way to throw off the shackles of stylus computing, Apple knew that the pen-like accessory would always be involved in our lives and now they want to do what they do best, improve upon it.
[Via: Patently Apple]