If you want to buy a stylus that works with touchscreens on modern smartphones and tablets, you’re restricted to those with capacitive nibs that don’t have a great deal of accuracy. Microsoft is reportedly working on a stylus that will work with any computer screen by directly tracking the output of the LCD screen. The company’s solution would place an angled camera within a stylus that would capture the LCD at a resolution of 512×512.
The camera then determines which pixels are in and out of focus, and sends the information back to software which translates where the stylus is being placed on the screen, including the angle. Because the camera is tracking at a pixel level, it allows for a more accurate stylus. The technology isn’t new, but Microsoft is hoping to cram a sensor into a stylus that’s accurate yet small enough to fit.
Microsoft is still working on the technology, but there’s still the question of pressure sensitivity. That’s something that the company won’t be able to track on ordinary displays for fear of breakage, but the stylus might still see use as an accurate pointing tool or aid that can be used on a wide range of computer and mobile displays.