Hardware, Software Programs

NVIDIA Wants the Return of the Stylus


Whilst there are some devices on the market with the stylus input available (Surface/Note just to name a few), NVIDIA’s approach differs in one important part ? it is a core feature aimed directly at their Tegra 4 SoC. Computex officially opened up today and the company?s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang presented the DirectStylus technology, which is powered by their own system on a chip.

It allows for a usage of a passive stylus on the screen, and the image-processing power of the Tegra?s 4 GPU does the rest of the job (recognition of the pressure, etc.) ? all on a standard touch sensor. It is, however, worth noting that NVIDIA used their Prism display for demonstration purposes. Basically, the device carrying their SoC solution is able to recognize the difference between various stylus tips, finger, palm, and so on. Software involved can distinguish the variances in pressure of a stylus and adjust the stroke size accordingly. This implementation uses the Direct Touch 2.0 technology which supports up to 300 scans per second ? and the company claims it is indeed "five times the typical 60Hz scan rate."

The company notes that the current range of styluses generally have a fat 5mm tip that is able to draw a line of a fixed width unless the user chooses another stroke option from the software. This integrated experience approach changes things significantly for those who want their pen input "to work precisely." To demonstrate the DirectStylus feature, Jen-Hsun Huang wrote his name in Mandarin, with all the fine lines taken into account flawlessly. NVIDIA apparently targets the Asian markets "where drawing characters requires line strokes of continually varying width."

While pens with active digitizers add to the overall cost of the devices, DirectStylus works with any passive conductive stylus ? and NVIDIA even demonstrated that it is possible to use two different ends of one pen naturally, with one side being a pen, and the other acting as an eraser. First devices using the technology should see the light of the day in a few months.

Source: NVIDIA