US20130106741A1 - Active Stylus with Tactile Input and Output - Google Patents

Active Stylus with Tactile Input and Output Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130106741A1
US20130106741A1 US13/556,951 US201213556951A US2013106741A1 US 20130106741 A1 US20130106741 A1 US 20130106741A1 US 201213556951 A US201213556951 A US 201213556951A US 2013106741 A1 US2013106741 A1 US 2013106741A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
stylus
tactile
device
material
tactile element
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Abandoned
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US13/556,951
Inventor
Trond Jarle Pedersen
John Logan
Esat Yilmaz
Vemund Kval Bakken
Kishore Sundara-Rajan
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Atmel Corp
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Atmel Corp
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Priority to US13/556,951 priority patent/US20130106741A1/en
Assigned to ATMEL CORPORATION reassignment ATMEL CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: PEDERSEN, TROND JARLE, SUNDARA-RAJAN, KISHORE, BAKKEN, VEMUND KVAL, LOGAN, JOHN, YILMAZ, ESAT
Publication of US20130106741A1 publication Critical patent/US20130106741A1/en
Assigned to MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT reassignment MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: ATMEL CORPORATION
Assigned to ATMEL CORPORATION reassignment ATMEL CORPORATION TERMINATION AND RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST IN PATENT COLLATERAL Assignors: MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC.
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/03Arrangements for converting the position or the displacement of a member into a coded form
    • G06F3/041Digitisers, e.g. for touch screens or touch pads, characterised by the transducing means
    • G06F3/044Digitisers, e.g. for touch screens or touch pads, characterised by the transducing means by capacitive means
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F21/00Security arrangements for protecting computers, components thereof, programs or data against unauthorised activity
    • G06F21/30Authentication, i.e. establishing the identity or authorisation of security principals
    • G06F21/31User authentication
    • G06F21/32User authentication using biometric data, e.g. fingerprints, iris scans or voiceprints
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/03Arrangements for converting the position or the displacement of a member into a coded form
    • G06F3/033Pointing devices displaced or positioned by the user, e.g. mice, trackballs, pens or joysticks; Accessories therefor
    • G06F3/0354Pointing devices displaced or positioned by the user, e.g. mice, trackballs, pens or joysticks; Accessories therefor with detection of 2D relative movements between the device, or an operating part thereof, and a plane or surface, e.g. 2D mice, trackballs, pens or pucks
    • G06F3/03545Pens or stylus

Abstract

In one embodiment, a stylus has one or more electrodes and one or more non-transitory computer-readable storage media embodying logic for communicating wirelessly with a device through a touch sensor of the device. The media further embodies logic configured to receive from a tactile element tactile-input signals based on tactile input to the stylus by an entity and process those signals to determine an action. The media further embodies logic configured to provide tactile-output signals to a tactile element of the stylus to communicate tactile output to the entity.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/553,114, filed 28 Oct. 2011, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This disclosure generally relates to active styluses.
  • BACKGROUND
  • A touch sensor may detect the presence and location of a touch or the proximity of an object (such as a user's finger or a stylus) within a touch-sensitive area of the touch sensor overlaid on a display screen, for example. In a touch-sensitive-display application, the touch sensor may enable a user to interact directly with what is displayed on the screen, rather than indirectly with a mouse or touch pad. A touch sensor may be attached to or provided as part of a desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet computer, personal digital assistant (PDA), smartphone, satellite navigation device, portable media player, portable game console, kiosk computer, point-of-sale device, or other suitable device. A control panel on a household or other appliance may include a touch sensor.
  • There are a number of different types of touch sensors, such as, for example, resistive touch screens, surface acoustic wave touch screens, and capacitive touch screens. Herein, reference to a touch sensor may encompass a touch screen, and vice versa, where appropriate. When an object touches or comes within proximity of the surface of the capacitive touch screen, a change in capacitance may occur within the touch screen at the location of the touch or proximity. A touch-sensor controller may process the change in capacitance to determine its position on the touch screen.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an example touch sensor with an example touch-sensor controller.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an example active stylus exterior.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates an example active stylus interior.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an example active stylus with touch sensor device.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an example active stylus with tactile elements for providing tactile output or accepting tactile input.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an example touch sensor 10 with an example touch-sensor controller 12. Touch sensor 10 and touch-sensor controller 12 may detect the presence and location of a touch or the proximity of an object within a touch-sensitive area of touch sensor 10. Herein, reference to a touch sensor may encompass both the touch sensor and its touch-sensor controller, where appropriate. Similarly, reference to a touch-sensor controller may encompass both the touch-sensor controller and its touch sensor, where appropriate. Touch sensor 10 may include one or more touch-sensitive areas, where appropriate. Touch sensor 10 may include an array of drive and sense electrodes (or an array of electrodes of a single type) disposed on one or more substrates, which may be made of a dielectric material. Herein, reference to a touch sensor may encompass both the electrodes of the touch sensor and the substrate(s) that they are disposed on, where appropriate. Alternatively, where appropriate, reference to a touch sensor may encompass the electrodes of the touch sensor, but not the substrate(s) that they are disposed on
  • An electrode (whether a ground electrode, guard electrode, drive electrode, or sense electrode) may be an area of conductive material forming a shape, such as for example a disc, square, rectangle, thin line, other suitable shape, or suitable combination of these. One or more cuts in one or more layers of conductive material may (at least in part) create the shape of an electrode, and the area of the shape may (at least in part) be bounded by those cuts. In particular embodiments, the conductive material of an electrode may occupy approximately 100% of the area of its shape. As an example and not by way of limitation, an electrode may be made of indium tin oxide (ITO) and the ITO of the electrode may occupy approximately 100% of the area of its shape (sometimes referred to as a 100% fill), where appropriate. In particular embodiments, the conductive material of an electrode may occupy substantially less than 100% of the area of its shape. As an example and not by way of limitation, an electrode may be made of fine lines of metal or other conductive material (FLM), such as for example copper, silver, or a copper- or silver-based material, and the fine lines of conductive material may occupy approximately 5% of the area of its shape in a hatched, mesh, or other suitable pattern. Herein, reference to FLM encompasses such material, where appropriate. Although this disclosure describes or illustrates particular electrodes made of particular conductive material forming particular shapes with particular fill percentages having particular patterns, this disclosure contemplates any suitable electrodes made of any suitable conductive material forming any suitable shapes with any suitable fill percentages having any suitable patterns.
  • Where appropriate, the shapes of the electrodes (or other elements) of a touch sensor may constitute in whole or in part one or more macro-features of the touch sensor. One or more characteristics of the implementation of those shapes (such as, for example, the conductive materials, fills, or patterns within the shapes) may constitute in whole or in part one or more micro-features of the touch sensor. One or more macro-features of a touch sensor may determine one or more characteristics of its functionality, and one or more micro-features of the touch sensor may determine one or more optical features of the touch sensor, such as transmittance, refraction, or reflection.
  • A mechanical stack may contain the substrate (or multiple substrates) and the conductive material forming the drive or sense electrodes of touch sensor 10. As an example and not by way of limitation, the mechanical stack may include a first layer of optically clear adhesive (OCA) beneath a cover panel. The cover panel may be clear and made of a resilient material suitable for repeated touching, such as for example glass, polycarbonate, or poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). This disclosure contemplates any suitable cover panel made of any suitable material. The first layer of OCA may be disposed between the cover panel and the substrate with the conductive material forming the drive or sense electrodes. The mechanical stack may also include a second layer of OCA and a dielectric layer (which may be made of PET or another suitable material, similar to the substrate with the conductive material forming the drive or sense electrodes). As an alternative, where appropriate, a thin coating of a dielectric material may be applied instead of the second layer of OCA and the dielectric layer. The second layer of OCA may be disposed between the substrate with the conductive material making up the drive or sense electrodes and the dielectric layer, and the dielectric layer may be disposed between the second layer of OCA and an air gap to a display of a device including touch sensor 10 and touch-sensor controller 12. As an example only and not by way of limitation, the cover panel may have a thickness of approximately 1 mm; the first layer of OCA may have a thickness of approximately 0.05 mm; the substrate with the conductive material forming the drive or sense electrodes may have a thickness of approximately 0.05 mm; the second layer of OCA may have a thickness of approximately 0.05 mm; and the dielectric layer may have a thickness of approximately 0.05 mm. Although this disclosure describes a particular mechanical stack with a particular number of particular layers made of particular materials and having particular thicknesses, this disclosure contemplates any suitable mechanical stack with any suitable number of any suitable layers made of any suitable materials and having any suitable thicknesses. As an example and not by way of limitation, in particular embodiments, a layer of adhesive or dielectric may replace the dielectric layer, second layer of OCA, and air gap described above, with there being no air gap to the display.
  • One or more portions of the substrate of touch sensor 10 may be made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or another suitable material. This disclosure contemplates any suitable substrate with any suitable portions made of any suitable material. In particular embodiments, the drive or sense electrodes in touch sensor 10 may be made of ITO in whole or in part. In particular embodiments, the drive or sense electrodes in touch sensor 10 may be made of fine lines of metal or other conductive material. As an example and not by way of limitation, one or more portions of the conductive material may be copper or copper-based and have a thickness of approximately 5 μm or less and a width of approximately 10 μm or less. As another example, one or more portions of the conductive material may be silver or silver-based and similarly have a thickness of approximately 5 μm or less and a width of approximately 10 μm or less. This disclosure contemplates any suitable electrodes made of any suitable material.
  • Touch sensor 10 may implement a capacitive form of touch sensing. In a mutual-capacitance implementation, touch sensor 10 may include an array of drive and sense electrodes forming an array of capacitive nodes. A drive electrode and a sense electrode may form a capacitive node. The drive and sense electrodes forming the capacitive node may come near each other, but not make electrical contact with each other. Instead, the drive and sense electrodes may be capacitively coupled to each other across a space between them. A pulsed or alternating voltage applied to the drive electrode (by touch-sensor controller 12) may induce a charge on the sense electrode, and the amount of charge induced may be susceptible to external influence (such as a touch or the proximity of an object). When an object touches or comes within proximity of the capacitive node, a change in capacitance may occur at the capacitive node and touch-sensor controller 12 may measure the change in capacitance. By measuring changes in capacitance throughout the array, touch-sensor controller 12 may determine the position of the touch or proximity within the touch-sensitive area(s) of touch sensor 10.
  • In a self-capacitance implementation, touch sensor 10 may include an array of electrodes of a single type that may each form a capacitive node. When an object touches or comes within proximity of the capacitive node, a change in self-capacitance may occur at the capacitive node and controller 12 may measure the change in capacitance, for example, as a change in the amount of charge needed to raise the voltage at the capacitive node by a pre-determined amount. As with a mutual-capacitance implementation, by measuring changes in capacitance throughout the array, controller 12 may determine the position of the touch or proximity within the touch-sensitive area(s) of touch sensor 10. This disclosure contemplates any suitable form of capacitive touch sensing, where appropriate.
  • In particular embodiments, one or more drive electrodes may together form a drive line running horizontally or vertically or in any suitable orientation. Similarly, one or more sense electrodes may together form a sense line running horizontally or vertically or in any suitable orientation. In particular embodiments, drive lines may run substantially perpendicular to sense lines. Herein, reference to a drive line may encompass one or more drive electrodes making up the drive line, and vice versa, where appropriate. Similarly, reference to a sense line may encompass one or more sense electrodes making up the sense line, and vice versa, where appropriate.
  • Touch sensor 10 may have drive and sense electrodes disposed in a pattern on one side of a single substrate. In such a configuration, a pair of drive and sense electrodes capacitively coupled to each other across a space between them may form a capacitive node. For a self-capacitance implementation, electrodes of only a single type may be disposed in a pattern on a single substrate. In addition or as an alternative to having drive and sense electrodes disposed in a pattern on one side of a single substrate, touch sensor 10 may have drive electrodes disposed in a pattern on one side of a substrate and sense electrodes disposed in a pattern on another side of the substrate. Moreover, touch sensor 10 may have drive electrodes disposed in a pattern on one side of one substrate and sense electrodes disposed in a pattern on one side of another substrate. In such configurations, an intersection of a drive electrode and a sense electrode may form a capacitive node. Such an intersection may be a location where the drive electrode and the sense electrode “cross” or come nearest each other in their respective planes. The drive and sense electrodes do not make electrical contact with each other—instead they are capacitively coupled to each other across a dielectric at the intersection. Although this disclosure describes particular configurations of particular electrodes forming particular nodes, this disclosure contemplates any suitable configuration of any suitable electrodes forming any suitable nodes. Moreover, this disclosure contemplates any suitable electrodes disposed on any suitable number of any suitable substrates in any suitable patterns.
  • As described above, a change in capacitance at a capacitive node of touch sensor 10 may indicate a touch or proximity input at the position of the capacitive node. Touch-sensor controller 12 may detect and process the change in capacitance to determine the presence and location of the touch or proximity input. Touch-sensor controller 12 may then communicate information about the touch or proximity input to one or more other components (such one or more central processing units (CPUs)) of a device that includes touch sensor 10 and touch-sensor controller 12, which may respond to the touch or proximity input by initiating a function of the device (or an application running on the device). Although this disclosure describes a particular touch-sensor controller having particular functionality with respect to a particular device and a particular touch sensor, this disclosure contemplates any suitable touch-sensor controller having any suitable functionality with respect to any suitable device and any suitable touch sensor.
  • Touch-sensor controller 12 may be one or more integrated circuits (ICs), such as for example general-purpose microprocessors, microcontrollers, programmable logic devices (PLDs) or programmable logic arrays (PLAs), application-specific ICs (ASICs). In particular embodiments, touch-sensor controller 12 comprises analog circuitry, digital logic, and digital non-volatile memory. In particular embodiments, touch-sensor controller 12 is disposed on a flexible printed circuit (FPC) bonded to the substrate of touch sensor 10, as described below. The FPC may be active or passive, where appropriate. In particular embodiments multiple touch-sensor controllers 12 are disposed on the FPC. Touch-sensor controller 12 may include a processor unit, a drive unit, a sense unit, and a storage unit. The drive unit may supply drive signals to the drive electrodes of touch sensor 10. The sense unit may sense charge at the capacitive nodes of touch sensor 10 and provide measurement signals to the processor unit representing capacitances at the capacitive nodes. The processor unit may control the supply of drive signals to the drive electrodes by the drive unit and process measurement signals from the sense unit to detect and process the presence and location of a touch or proximity input within the touch-sensitive area(s) of touch sensor 10. The processor unit may also track changes in the position of a touch or proximity input within the touch-sensitive area(s) of touch sensor 10. The storage unit may store programming for execution by the processor unit, including programming for controlling the drive unit to supply drive signals to the drive electrodes, programming for processing measurement signals from the sense unit, and other suitable programming, where appropriate. Although this disclosure describes a particular touch-sensor controller having a particular implementation with particular components, this disclosure contemplates any suitable touch-sensor controller having any suitable implementation with any suitable components.
  • Tracks 14 of conductive material disposed on the substrate of touch sensor 10 may couple the drive or sense electrodes of touch sensor 10 to connection pads 16, also disposed on the substrate of touch sensor 10. As described below, connection pads 16 facilitate coupling of tracks 14 to touch-sensor controller 12. Tracks 14 may extend into or around (e.g. at the edges of) the touch-sensitive area(s) of touch sensor 10. Particular tracks 14 may provide drive connections for coupling touch-sensor controller 12 to drive electrodes of touch sensor 10, through which the drive unit of touch-sensor controller 12 may supply drive signals to the drive electrodes. Other tracks 14 may provide sense connections for coupling touch-sensor controller 12 to sense electrodes of touch sensor 10, through which the sense unit of touch-sensor controller 12 may sense charge at the capacitive nodes of touch sensor 10. Tracks 14 may be made of fine lines of metal or other conductive material. As an example and not by way of limitation, the conductive material of tracks 14 may be copper or copper-based and have a width of approximately 100 μm or less. As another example, the conductive material of tracks 14 may be silver or silver-based and have a width of approximately 100 μm or less. In particular embodiments, tracks 14 may be made of ITO in whole or in part in addition or as an alternative to fine lines of metal or other conductive material. Although this disclosure describes particular tracks made of particular materials with particular widths, this disclosure contemplates any suitable tracks made of any suitable materials with any suitable widths. In addition to tracks 14, touch sensor 10 may include one or more ground lines terminating at a ground connector (which may be a connection pad 16) at an edge of the substrate of touch sensor 10 (similar to tracks 14).
  • Connection pads 16 may be located along one or more edges of the substrate, outside the touch-sensitive area(s) of touch sensor 10. As described above, touch-sensor controller 12 may be on an FPC. Connection pads 16 may be made of the same material as tracks 14 and may be bonded to the FPC using an anisotropic conductive film (ACF). Connection 18 may include conductive lines on the FPC coupling touch-sensor controller 12 to connection pads 16, in turn coupling touch-sensor controller 12 to tracks 14 and to the drive or sense electrodes of touch sensor 10. In another embodiment, connection pads 16 may be connected to an electro-mechanical connector (such as a zero insertion force wire-to-board connector); in this embodiment, connection 18 may not need to include an FPC. This disclosure contemplates any suitable connection 18 between touch-sensor controller 12 and touch sensor 10.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an example exterior of an example active stylus 20. Active stylus 20 may include one or more components, such as buttons 30 or sliders 32 and 34 integrated with an outer body 22. These external components may provide for interaction between active stylus 20 and a user or between a device and a user. As an example and not by way of limitation, interactions may include communication between active stylus 20 and a device, enabling or altering functionality of active stylus 20 or a device, or providing feedback to or accepting input from one or more users. The device may by any suitable device, such as, for example and without limitation, a desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet computer, personal digital assistant (PDA), smartphone, satellite navigation device, portable media player, portable game console, kiosk computer, point-of-sale device, or other suitable device. Although this disclosure provides specific examples of particular components configured to provide particular interactions, this disclosure contemplates any suitable component configured to provide any suitable interaction. Active stylus 20 may have any suitable dimensions with outer body 22 made of any suitable material or combination of materials, such as, for example and without limitation, plastic or metal. In particular embodiments, exterior components (e.g. 30 or 32) of active stylus 20 may interact with internal components or programming of active stylus 20 or may initiate one or more interactions with one or more devices or other active styluses 20.
  • As described above, actuating one or more particular components may initiate an interaction between active stylus 20 and a user or between the device and the user. Components of active stylus 20 may include one or more buttons 30 or one or more sliders 32 and 34. As an example and not by way of limitation, buttons 30 or sliders 32 and 34 may be mechanical or capacitive and may function as a roller, trackball, or wheel. As another example, one or more sliders 32 or 34 may function as a vertical slider 34 aligned along a longitudinal axis, while one or more wheel sliders 32 may be aligned along the circumference of active stylus 20. In particular embodiments, capacitive sliders 32 and 34 or buttons 30 may be implemented using one or more touch-sensitive areas. Touch-sensitive areas may have any suitable shape, dimensions, location, or be made from any suitable material. As an example and not by way of limitation, sliders 32 and 34 or buttons 30 may be implemented using areas of flexible mesh formed using lines of conductive material. As another example, sliders 32 and 34 or buttons 30 may be implemented using a FPC.
  • Active stylus 20 may have one or more components configured to provide feedback to or accepting feedback from a user, such as, for example and without limitation, tactile, visual, or audio feedback. Active stylus 20 may include one or more ridges or grooves 24 on its outer body 22. Ridges or grooves 24 may have any suitable dimensions, have any suitable spacing between ridges or grooves, or be located at any suitable area on outer body 22 of active stylus 20. As an example and not by way of limitation, ridges 24 may enhance a user's grip on outer body 22 of active stylus 20 or provide tactile feedback to or accept tactile input from a user. Active stylus 20 may include one or more audio components 38 capable of transmitting and receiving audio signals. As an example and not by way of limitation, audio component 38 may contain a microphone capable of recording or transmitting one or more users' voices. As another example, audio component 38 may provide an auditory indication of a power status of active stylus 20. Active stylus 20 may include one or more visual feedback components 36, such as a light-emitting diode (LED) indicator. As an example and not by way of limitation, visual feedback component 36 may indicate a power status of active stylus 20 to the user.
  • One or more modified surface areas 40 may form one or more components on outer body 22 of active stylus 20. Properties of modified surface areas 40 may be different than properties of the remaining surface of outer body 22. As an example and not by way of limitation, modified surface area 40 may be modified to have a different texture, temperature, or electromagnetic characteristic relative to the surface properties of the remainder of outer body 22. Modified surface area 40 may be capable of dynamically altering its properties, for example by using haptic interfaces or rendering techniques. A user may interact with modified surface area 40 to provide any suitable functionally. For example and not by way of limitation, dragging a finger across modified surface area 40 may initiate an interaction, such as data transfer, between active stylus 20 and a device.
  • One or more components of active stylus 20 may be configured to communicate data between active stylus 20 and the device. For example, active stylus 20 may include one or more tips 26 or nibs. Tip 26 may include one or more electrodes configured to communicate data between active stylus 20 and one or more devices or other active styluses. Tip 26 may be made of any suitable material, such as a conductive material, and have any suitable dimensions, such as, for example, a diameter of 1 mm or less at its terminal end. Active stylus 20 may include one or more ports 28 located at any suitable location on outer body 22 of active stylus 20. Port 28 may be configured to transfer signals or information between active stylus 20 and one or more devices or power sources. Port 28 may transfer signals or information by any suitable technology, such as, for example, by universal serial bus (USB) or Ethernet connections. Although this disclosure describes and illustrates a particular configuration of particular components with particular locations, dimensions, composition and functionality, this disclosure contemplates any suitable configuration of suitable components with any suitable locations, dimensions, composition, and functionality with respect to active stylus 20.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates example internal components of example active stylus 20. Active stylus 20 may include one or more internal components, such as a controller 50, sensors 42, memory 44, or power source 48. In particular embodiments, one or more internal components may be configured to provide for interaction between active stylus 20 and a user or between a device and a user. In other particular embodiments, one or more internal components, in conjunction with one or more external components described above, may be configured to provide interaction between active stylus 20 and a user or between a device and a user. As an example and not by way of limitation, interactions may include communication between active stylus 20 and a device, enabling or altering functionality of active stylus 20 or a device, or providing feedback to or accepting input from one or more users.
  • Controller 50 may be a microcontroller or any other type of processor suitable for controlling the operation of active stylus 20. Controller 50 may be one or more ICs—such as, for example, general-purpose microprocessors, microcontrollers, PLDs, PLAs, or ASICs. Controller 50 may include a processor unit, a drive unit, a sense unit, and a storage unit. The drive unit may supply signals to electrodes of tip 26 through center shaft 41. The drive unit may also supply signals to control or drive sensors 42 or one or more external components of active stylus 20. The sense unit may sense signals received by electrodes of tip 26 through center shaft 41 and provide measurement signals to the processor unit representing input from a device. The sense unit may also sense signals generated by sensors 42 or one or more external components and provide measurement signals to the processor unit representing input from a user. The processor unit may control the supply of signals to the electrodes of tip 26 and process measurement signals from the sense unit to detect and process input from the device. The processor unit may also process measurement signals from sensors 42 or one or more external components. The storage unit may store programming for execution by the processor unit, including programming for controlling the drive unit to supply signals to the electrodes of tip 26, programming for processing measurement signals from the sense unit corresponding to input from the device, programming for processing measurement signals from sensors 42 or external components to initiate a pre-determined function or gesture to be performed by active stylus 20 or the device, and other suitable programming, where appropriate. As an example and not by way of limitation, programming executed by controller 50 may electronically filter signals received from the sense unit. Although this disclosure describes a particular controller 50 having a particular implementation with particular components, this disclosure contemplates any suitable controller having any suitable implementation with any suitable components.
  • In particular embodiments, active stylus 20 may include one or more sensors 42, such as touch sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, contact sensors, or any other type of sensor that detect or measure data about the environment in which active stylus 20 operates. Sensors 42 may detect and measure one or more characteristic of active stylus 20, such as acceleration or movement, orientation, contact, pressure on outer body 22, force on tip 26, vibration, or any other suitable characteristic of active stylus 20. As an example and not by way of limitation, sensors 42 may be implemented mechanically, electronically, or capcatively. As described above, data detected or measured by sensors 42 communicated to controller 50 may initiate a pre-determined function or gesture to be performed by active stylus 20 or the device. In particular embodiments, data detected or received by sensors 42 may be stored in memory 44. Memory 44 may be any form of memory suitable for storing data in active stylus 20. In other particular embodiments, controller 50 may access data stored in memory 44. As an example and not by way of limitation, memory 44 may store programming for execution by the processor unit of controller 50. As another example, data measured by sensors 42 may be processed by controller 50 and stored in memory 44.
  • Power source 48 may be any type of stored-energy source, including electrical or chemical-energy sources, suitable for powering the operation of active stylus 20. In particular embodiments, power source 48 may be charged by energy from a user or device. As an example and not by way of limitation, power source 48 may be a rechargeable battery that may be charged by motion induced on active stylus 20. In other particular embodiments, power source 48 of active stylus 20 may provide power to or receive power from the device. As an example and not by way of limitation, power may be inductively transferred between power source 48 and a power source of the device.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an example active stylus 20 with an example device 52. Device 52 may have a display (not shown) and a touch sensor with a touch-sensitive area 54. Device 52 display may be a liquid crystal display (LCD), a LED display, a LED-backlight LCD, or other suitable display and may be visible though a cover panel and substrate (and the drive and sense electrodes of the touch sensor disposed on it) of device 52. Although this disclosure describes a particular device display and particular display types, this disclosure contemplates any suitable device display and any suitable display types.
  • Device 52 electronics may provide the functionality of device 52. As example and not by way of limitation, device 52 electronics may include circuitry or other electronics for wireless communication to or from device 52, execute programming on device 52, generating graphical or other user interfaces (UIs) for device 52 display to display to a user, managing power to device 52 from a battery or other power source, taking still pictures, recording video, other suitable functionality, or any suitable combination of these. Although this disclosure describes particular device electronics providing particular functionality of a particular device, this disclosure contemplates any suitable device electronics providing any suitable functionality of any suitable device.
  • In particular embodiments, active stylus 20 and device 52 may be synchronized prior to communication of data between active stylus 20 and device 52. As an example and not by way of limitation, active stylus 20 may be synchronized to device through a pre-determined bit sequence transmitted by the touch sensor of device 52. As another example, active stylus 20 may be synchronized to device by processing the drive signal transmitted by drive electrodes of the touch sensor of device 52. Active stylus 20 may interact or communicate with device 52 when active stylus 20 is brought in contact with or in proximity to touch-sensitive area 54 of the touch sensor of device 52. In particular embodiments, interaction between active stylus 20 and device 52 may be capacitive or inductive. As an example and not by way of limitation, when active stylus 20 is brought in contact with or in the proximity of touch-sensitive area 54 of device 52, signals generated by active stylus 20 may influence capacitive nodes of touch-sensitive area of device 52 or vice versa. As another example, a power source of active stylus 20 may be inductively charged through the touch sensor of device 52, or vice versa. Although this disclosure describes particular interactions and communications between active stylus 20 and device 52, this disclosure contemplates any suitable interactions and communications through any suitable means, such as mechanical forces, current, voltage, or electromagnetic fields.
  • In particular embodiments, measurement signals from the sensors of active stylus 20 may initiate, provide for, or terminate interactions between active stylus 20 and one or more devices 52 or one or more users, as described above. Interaction between active stylus 20 and device 52 may occur when active stylus 20 is contacting or in proximity to device 52. As an example and not by way of limitation, a user may perform a gesture or sequence of gestures, such as shaking or inverting active stylus 20, whilst active stylus 20 is hovering above touch-sensitive area 54 of device 52. Active stylus may interact with device 52 based on the gesture performed with active stylus 20 to initiate a pre-determined function, such as authenticating a user associated with active stylus 20 or device 52. Although this disclosure describes particular movements providing particular types of interactions between active stylus 20 and device 52, this disclosure contemplates any suitable movement influencing any suitable interaction in any suitable way.
  • In particular embodiments, an active stylus may provide tactile output to or accept tactile input from an entity, such as a device or a user of the stylus. As used herein, “tactile” encompasses physical contact and/or the characteristics associated with physical contact. As an example and not by way of limitation, “tactile” encompasses both contact with a high-temperature element and interaction with the temperature gradient substantially near the high-temperature element. Tactile output may be provided and tactile input may be accepted by one or more actuators, microelectromechanical systems (“MEMS”), piezoelectrics, surface-modification materials, gyroscopes, accelerometers, or any other suitable tactile element. Tactile output may be provided by or tactile input may be based on texture, size, shape, temperature, motion, or resistance to motion of one or more tactile elements. A tactile element may provide tactile output to an entity as a result of a tactile-output signals received by the tactile element. For example and not by way of limitation, the stylus's electronics may generate current suitable to power an actuator or voltage suitable to activate surface-modification materials. A tactile element may accept tactile input by transducing the input into a tactile-input signal, which is then processed by electronics in the stylus. For example and not by way of limitation, pressure placed on a stylus may be transduced into an electric current by a piezoelectric, and mechanical vibration of the stylus may be transduced into an electric current by an accelerometer. Tactile elements providing tactile output or accepting tactile input may exist in or on an active stylus. FIG. 5 illustrates an example active stylus 20 with tactile elements for providing tactile output or accepting tactile input. Tactile elements may exist within active stylus 20 as internal tactile elements 62, such as one or more accelerometers, gyroscopes, MEMS, or actuators. Internal tactile elements 62 may interact with an entity through tactile elements on or near the surface 22 of active stylus 20, for example but not by way of limitation buttons 30. In addition or alternatively, tactile elements may also exist on or near the outer body 22 of active stylus 20, and may include one or more buttons 30, sliders 32, textured surfaces 40, surface areas 42, ridges 60, or any other suitable tactile elements. In addition or alternatively, tactile elements may appear on or near the surface of tip 26 of active stylus 20. Tactile elements may be composed at least in part of a shape-memory alloy, a shape-memory polymer, an electronic or ionic electroactive polymer, a magnetocaloric material, a thermoelectric material, a pH-sensitive material, a temperature-responsive material, a piezoelectric, a halochromic material, a chromogenic material, or a photomechanical material.
  • In particular embodiments, functionalities associated with tactile elements depend on actions performed by a stylus. For example, an actuator in the stylus may provide buzzing or other tactile output upon the successful completion of a task, such as authenticating a stylus to a device or saving settings associated with a stylus or device. Different tactile output may be associated with unsuccessful completion of the task. As another example, a user may provide tactile input to a stylus by rubbing a textured surface on the stylus, tapping on the stylus, or placing pressure on the stylus at one or more locations. These tactile inputs may be performed as a part of an authentication gesture or to trigger specific functionalities, such as navigating through or selecting menu commands. While this disclosure provides specific examples of tactile output provided by or tactile input provided to a stylus associated with specific functionalities, this disclosure contemplates any suitable tactile input or output associated with any suitable functionalities.
  • In particular embodiments, functionalities associated with tactile elements depend on particular settings of a stylus or associated device. For example, a stylus operating as a joystick may use actuators to provide various levels of vibration or gyroscopes to provide various levels of resistance to angular motion. The stylus may provide different output, such as different types or degrees of vibration, when operated as a mouse interacting with a touch-sensitive display. As another example, settings associated with programs or applications may determine whether or what kind of tactile output is provided or tactile input accepted. For example, settings in a word processing application may provide different types or degrees of tactile output than settings in a specific game. These settings may be determined by a user or device or may be pre-set by the program or application. While this disclosure provides specific examples of particular settings dictating particular types of tactile input and output, this disclosure contemplates any suitable settings dictating any suitable tactile input and output.
  • In particular embodiments, functionalities associated with tactile input and output depend on the status of one or more components of a stylus or associated device. For example, vibrations may indicate low battery levels in the stylus, or a slider activating high-voltage components may indicate low battery levels to a user by becoming more resistant to sliding as the battery level decreases. As another example, when a stylus and a device are in contact the stylus may buzz to initiate charging of the stylus by the device. As another example, a stylus may periodically buzz when specific components, such as high-voltage components or communication components such as Bluetooth or a microphone, are active in the stylus, or may buzz to activate such components. While this disclosure provides specific examples of particular statuses of particular components that trigger particular tactile input or output, this disclosure contemplates any suitable statuses of any suitable components triggering any suitable input or output.
  • In particular embodiments, functionalities associated with tactile output depend on content displayed on a device. As an example, a user or a device may provide tactile output to or accept tactile output from a stylus as the stylus passes over content displayed on a touch-sensitive screen. For example, output from the stylus may alert the user of some property of the content displayed, such as roughness of a virtual surface, that is communicated to the user by changes in texture of a material on the stylus. As another example, as a stylus passes over text on a display the text may be communicated to a user through changes in the size or shape of materials on the stylus, for example by forming Braille characters. While this disclosure provides particular examples of specific displayed content resulting in specific tactile output, this disclosure contemplates any suitable displayed content resulting in any suitable tactile output.
  • Herein, a computer-readable non-transitory storage medium or media may include one or more semiconductor-based or other integrated circuits (ICs) (such, as for example, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) or application-specific ICs (ASICs)), hard disk drives (HDDs), hybrid hard drives (HHDs), optical discs, optical disc drives (ODDs), magneto-optical discs, magneto-optical drives, floppy diskettes, floppy disk drives (FDDs), magnetic tapes, solid-state drives (SSDs), RAM-drives, SECURE DIGITAL cards or drives, any other suitable computer-readable non-transitory storage media, or any suitable combination of two or more of these, where appropriate. A computer-readable non-transitory storage medium may be volatile, non-volatile, or a combination of volatile and non-volatile, where appropriate.
  • Herein, “or” is inclusive and not exclusive, unless expressly indicated otherwise or indicated otherwise by context. Therefore, herein, “A or B” means “A, B, or both,” unless expressly indicated otherwise or indicated otherwise by context. Moreover, “and” is both joint and several, unless expressly indicated otherwise or indicated otherwise by context. Therefore, herein, “A and B” means “A and B, jointly or severally,” unless expressly indicated otherwise or indicated otherwise by context.
  • This disclosure encompasses all changes, substitutions, variations, alterations, and modifications to the example embodiments herein that a person having ordinary skill in the art would comprehend. Moreover, although this disclosure describes and illustrates respective embodiments herein as including particular components, elements, functions, operations, or steps, any of these embodiments may include any combination or permutation of any of the components, elements, functions, operations, or steps described or illustrated anywhere herein that a person having ordinary skill in the art would comprehend. Furthermore, reference in the appended claims to an apparatus or system or a component of an apparatus or system being adapted to, arranged to, capable of, configured to, enabled to, operable to, or operative to perform a particular function encompasses that apparatus, system, component, whether or not it or that particular function is activated, turned on, or unlocked, as long as that apparatus, system, or component is so adapted, arranged, capable, configured, enabled, operable, or operative.

Claims (22)

1. A stylus comprising:
one or more electrodes for transmitting signals wirelessly to a device through a touch sensor of the device; and
one or more non-transitory computer-readable storage media embodying:
first logic configured to control the electrodes for transmitting signals wirelessly to the device through the touch sensor; and
second logic configured to
provide tactile-output signals to a tactile element on or in the stylus, the tactile element operable to communicate tactile output to an entity.
2. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the entity is a user of the stylus.
3. (canceled)
4. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the tactile element communicates tactile output based on one or more of:
a texture of the tactile element;
a size of the tactile element;
a shape of the tactile element;
a temperature of the tactile element;
a motion of the tactile element;
a resistance to motion of the tactile element; or
a force generated by the tactile element.
5. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the tactile element comprises one or more of:
a microelectromechanical system;
an actuator;
a button;
a slider;
a surface area; or
a textured surface.
6. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the tactile element comprises one or more of:
a shape-memory alloy;
a shape-memory polymer;
an electronic or ionic electroactive polymer;
a magnetocaloric material;
a thermoelectric material;
a pH-sensitive material;
a temperature-responsive material;
a piezoelectric;
a halochromic material;
a chromogenic material; or
a photomechanical material.
7. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the tactile output is based on one or more actions performed by the stylus.
8. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the tactile output is based on one or more settings associated with the stylus.
9. The stylus of claim 1, wherein the tactile output is based on content displayed on the device.
10-20. (canceled)
21. A stylus comprising:
one or more electrodes for transmitting signals wirelessly to a device through a touch sensor of the device; and
one or more non-transitory computer-readable storage media embodying:
first logic configured to control the electrodes for transmitting signals wirelessly to the device through the touch sensor; and
second logic configured to:
receive tactile-input signals from a tactile element, the tactile-input signals generated by an interaction between an entity and the tactile element, the interaction comprising a change in a physical property of the tactile element, the physical property comprising one or more of:
a texture;
a size;
a shape;
a motion; or
a resistance to motion; and
process the tactile-input signals to determine an action.
22. The stylus of claim 21, wherein the entity is a user of the stylus.
23. The stylus of claim 21, wherein the tactile element comprises one or more of:
an accelerometer;
a gyroscope;
a microelectromechanical system;
an actuator;
a button;
a slider;
a surface area; or
a textured surface.
24. The stylus of claim 21, wherein the tactile element comprises one or more of:
a shape-memory alloy;
a shape-memory polymer;
an electronic or ionic electroactive polymer;
a magnetocaloric material;
a thermoelectric material;
a pH-sensitive material;
a piezoelectric;
a halochromic material;
a chromogenic material; or
a photomechanical material.
25. The stylus of claim 21, wherein a functionality associated with the tactile input is based on one or more actions performed by the stylus.
26. The stylus of claim 21, wherein a functionality associated with the tactile input is based on one or more settings associated with the stylus.
27. The stylus of claim 21, wherein a functionality associated with the tactile input is based on content displayed on the device.
28. A stylus comprising:
one or more electrodes for transmitting signals wirelessly to a device through a touch sensor of the device; and
one or more non-transitory computer-readable storage media embodying:
first logic configured to control the electrodes for transmitting signals wirelessly to the device through the touch sensor; and
second logic configured to:
receive tactile-input signals from a first tactile element, the tactile-input signals generated by an interaction between an entity and the first tactile element;
process the tactile-input signals to determine an action; and
provide tactile-output signals to a second tactile element on or in the stylus, the second tactile element operable to communicate tactile output to the entity.
29. The stylus of claim 28, wherein the entity is a user of the stylus.
30. The stylus of claim 28, wherein the first tactile element is the second tactile element.
31. The stylus of claim 28, wherein at least one of the first tactile element or the second tactile element comprises one or more of:
a shape-memory alloy;
a shape-memory polymer;
an electronic or ionic electroactive polymer;
a magnetocaloric material;
a thermoelectric material;
a pH-sensitive material;
a temperature-responsive material;
a piezoelectric;
a halochromic material;
a chromogenic material; or
a photomechanical material.
32. The stylus of claim 28, wherein at least one of the tactile output or a functionality associated with the tactile input is based on one or more actions performed by the stylus.
US13/556,951 2011-10-28 2012-07-24 Active Stylus with Tactile Input and Output Abandoned US20130106741A1 (en)

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US13/556,951 Abandoned US20130106741A1 (en) 2011-10-28 2012-07-24 Active Stylus with Tactile Input and Output
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US20130106777A1 (en) 2013-05-02

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