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With Apple's Success with AirPods, Microsoft Patents a Future Surface Pen that can wrap around a user's Ear and Play Music

1 Cover Msft pen that wraps around a user's ear

 

Earlier this month the U.S. Patent Office published a patent application from Microsoft about a possible future Surface Pen that has a capacitive stylus nib and an earpiece dock. The earpiece is removably dockable at the earpiece dock. The earpiece includes a speaker, an earpiece battery, and a wireless radio configured to communicatively couple with a host device such as a next-gen dual display project Athena device

 

Microsoft not only wants to have a next-gen Surface device to add to its growing family of Surface devices, they also want to add a revolutionary Surface Pen accessory that could double as an earpiece. By flexibly bending the pen around the user's ear, the user will be free to listen to music or use it as a presentation slide controller.

 

Do engineers really get paid to dream up stuff like this? I'm sure that this invention will have Apple executives trembling.

 

With that said, Microsoft's patent FIGS. 1A, B and 1C shown below are examples of a flexible carpenter's stylus with a dockable earpiece. A carpenter's stylus has a flat edge to the pencil so that it can't roll away. Apple implanted that in Apple Pencil 2 when adding magnetic docking.

 

2AX - MSFT STYLUS EARPIECE

 

Microsoft's patent FIG. 3 above schematically shows a computing system including a flexible stylus, a dockable earpiece, and a host computing device.

 

Microsoft's patent FIGS. 6A and 6B show below show example flexible carpenter's stylus in two different modes of operation.

 

3 X microsoft smart pen wraps around user's ear

 

Microsoft's patent FIGS. 2A-2B above illustrates example flexible carpenter's stylus in pure rigid mode and flexible mode with a dockable earpiece.

 

Random Patent Points

 

The flexible stylus may optionally include one or more input buttons which may be disposed on any outside surface of the flexible stylus, e.g., on an outside surface of rigid portion.  The input buttons may be substantially flush with an outside surface.  Additionally, an input button may control sending a packet to an earpiece to indicate that audio playback volume should be increased. In another example, an input button may control sending a packet to the host device to indicate that a currently playing music track should be paused.

 

In yet another example, the input buttons may be used as an interface for controlling a digital presentation (e.g., "next slide" and "previous slide" buttons). The functionality of input buttons 306 may be mapped to different functions by different executing applications of the host device.

 

Another button may be used as a zoom screen function.

 

Microsoft mentions having the dual display device offering hover functionality which Microsoft had previously filed a patent for in April 2017.

 

Microsoft's patent was originally filed in December 2017 and published by USPTO earlier this month.

 

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