Microsoft Mechanics explores the physics behind the Surface Pen

Laurent Giret

Surface Book with Pen

As we’re nearing the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary update (get ready for a release in early August instead of July 29 as we reported earlier today), owners of Windows tablets should be looking forward to play with Windows Ink, which is a kind of alternative user interface to interact and get creative with Windows 10 using a compatible stylus or pen such as Microsoft’s Surface Pen.

Of course, not all styluses are created equal and Microsoft wants to emphasize why the technology behind its Surface Pen makes it a more versatile tool than its competitors. Just two weeks after Microsoft’s Director of Program Management for Surface devices Vineet Thuvara provided a video tour of the pen design and performance, the Director and engineer is back this week to explain the physics behind the Surface pen and display interaction.

We invite you to watch the three-minute video below:

A few highlights from this video:

  • The Surface Pen supports 1024 levels of pressure. Using the Surface app on a Surface Pro 4 or a Surface Book, you adjust the pen’s sensitivity to suit your preferences.
  • The surface Pen is available with four different tips ranging from extruded, highly compressed fiber to hard-molded polymer to give users the right balance of friction and durability.
  • To reduce inking latency, Microsoft is relying on speedier GPUs on both the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. The engineers also worked to optimize all the interactions across the stack from the pen hardware to the operating system, and even worked with applications teams like OneNote to provide the best inking experience.

We’re glad that Microsoft has been setting a pretty high standard with its Surface hardware, but it’s now up to third-party OEMs and Windows developers to enable innovative use cases with digital inking on Windows 10. If you own a recent Surface device plus a Surface pen, are you satisfied with the versatility of Microsoft’s stylus? Let us know what you think in the comments below.