Exploring the physics behind Surface Pen and display interaction


We continue our engineer’s tour of the Surface Pen with a demonstration of the physics behind the pen and display interaction.

A number of design innovations make using the new Surface Pen with Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book a great experience, not just for writing but also for drawing and sketching.

The new Surface Pen was designed with a four-fold increase in pressure sensitivity, to 1024 levels, and can be set to suit each user’s specific needs. As Director of Program Management Vineet Thuvara illustrates, the Surface App can be used to adjust the pen’s sensitivity curve to make it appear more or less dense, and interchangeable pen tips can be used to change how the pen feels against the screen.

The engineering team set a high goal of making the ink appear as if it really is flowing directly from the pen tip, just as it would on paper. As Vineet demonstrates, this was no small task, requiring a reduction in the distance between the pen tip resting on the glass and the display pixels to minimize parallax to less than a millimeter, and optimized use of the GPU and dedicated graphics chips to minimize inking latency.

We hope you enjoy the demo and remind you that you can watch the full Microsoft Mechanics series on the design and management of Surface devices here.


Comments (0)

Skip to main content