Last week a patent emerged which appears to describe a touch-sensitive clip for the Surface Pen, allowing users to interact with Windows in new ways via the pen alone. Today, we found another patent which relates to the Surface Pen, which appears to be a method for creating haptic, physical feedback to the pen user via small magnets within the stylus' tip.
Described by the patent as a "Haptic Stylus," it details methods for producing haptic feedback for a variety of functions as detected by the Surface Pen, including pressure sensitivity, tilt, and button presses.
Haptics into the Surface Pen might seem unnecessary at first, but the applications have a lot of potential. For example, gentle vibrations could help create a sensation that you're writing on something rougher, like paper, producing a more natural writing experience than you'll get inking on a glass display. Additionally, Microsoft could create ways for haptic feedback for events, for example, when your stylus rolls over a link while using it to browse in Edge. This might be useful for an inking-heavy device, like say, the rumored folding Surface "Andromeda".
Microsoft to be exploring it as a possible option for the Surface Pen is encouraging, but like many patents, it might never become a real product. Apple itself was exploring haptic stylus features all the way back in 2012, and sadly for Apple fans, they never made it into the Apple Pencil. We'll just have to wait and see on this one.