In the future, fans of Microsoft’s digital pen, Surface, may not need to recharge it or replace its batteries. The Surface Pen is part of Microsoft’s digital range of computing devices and will be solar-powered. At first in 2016, the corporate filed for a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office, but it isn’t clear if it plans to commercialize the idea in future versions of the pen.
How it Works
Instead of using light from external sources, like a close lamp or the sun, Microsoft’s invention needs a light collecting device located near its tip to gather light produced from its display when in use. In this manner, the light emitted from the Surface Pro screen could be garnered to power up as well as recharge the pen. Using fiber optic cables within the pen’s barrel, the light is transmitted to a solar panel inside at its opposite tip.
Describing the process in its filing for the patent, Microsoft wrote that the stylus gathers light whilst interacting with its touchscreen when the screen is in close range. Such close proximity allows the pen to harvest intense light collected from the electronic display, which is much higher in intensity than outdoor or room lighting.
To make the most of recharging efficacy, Microsoft says the solar panels — that transform LED light into energy emitted from the touchscreen display — could possibly be enhanced for the wavelengths of light released from LED displays, instead of alternative light sources. Light with a higher intensity, such as a screen that’s set on its highest level of brightness, could mean quicker charging. In addition, reflective surfaces within the stylus’ barrel may also help absorption by the solar panel of the highest volume of light.
Microsoft also demonstrated, in a further example, a port for the Surface Pen that lets the stylus be placed vertically with its tip inside. Additionally, this dock comprises a little LED light which can be utilized to power up the stylus when not in use.
What’s distinctive about the creation is that the solar panel is not situated on the stylus’ exterior, but on its interior drum. This allows the Pen maintain the same minimalistic and clean look as the current, battery-powered version.