Stylus (computing)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In computing, a stylus (or stylus pen) is a small pen-shaped instrument whose tip position on a touchscreen can be detected by the screen. It is used to draw, or make selections by tapping, on devices with touchscreens such as computers, mobile devices (smartphones and personal digital assistants[1]), game consoles,[2] and graphics tablets.[1] While touchscreens can usually be operated with a fingertip, a stylus provides more accurate and controllable input.[3] The stylus (or fingertip) has the same function as a mouse or trackpad as a pointing device; its use is commonly called pen computing.

Different types of stylus are used for resistive and capacitive touchscreens. Capacitive screens are very widely used on mobile phones.

Pen-like input devices which are larger than a stylus, and offer increased functionality such as programmable buttons, pressure sensitivity and electronic erasers, are often known as digital pens.[1]

Many capacitive touchscreen devices support multi-touch finger input, where simultaneous use of several fingers is detected; a stylus cannot replicate this.[4]

Graphics tablets use a stylus containing circuitry, which may be battery-powered or operate passively by inductance, to allow multi-function buttons on the barrel of the pen or stylus to transmit user instructions to the tablet. Most tablets detect varying degrees of pressure sensitivity, e.g., for use in a drawing program to vary line thickness or color density.

Beyond the side of the input mechanism, there has been a need for the physical output of the stylus. Recently, new pen-based interfaces have been proposed to simulate the realistic physical sensations on digital surfaces (e.g., tablet computer, smartphone etc.) to allow users to feel as if they feel like analog-pen writing, for instance, RealPen Project.[5]

The first use of a stylus in a computing device was the Styalator, demonstrated by Tom Dimond in 1957.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shelly, Gary B.; Misty E. Vermaat (2009). Discovering Computers: Fundamentals. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-80638-7. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  2. ^ "Giz Explains: The Magic Behind Touchscreens". Gizmodo. 13 August 2008. Archived from the original on 26 November 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  3. ^ Charles Arthur (20 October 2009). "Windows Mobile: where's the love? And where's the sales figure?". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016.
  4. ^ Brandon, John (15 December 2008). "The Age of Touch Computing: A Complete Guide". PC World. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017.
  5. ^ Cho, Youngjun. "RealPen: Providing Realism in Handwriting Tasks on Touch Surfaces using Auditory-Tactile Feedback". ACM. pp. 195–205.
  6. ^ Dimond, Tom (1957-12-01). "Devices for reading handwritten characters". Proceedings of Eastern Joint Computer Conference. pp. 232–237. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  7. ^ Dimond, T. L. (1958). "Devices for Reading Handwritten Characters". December 9-13, 1957 Eastern Joint Computer Conference: Computers with Deadlines to Meet. Association for Computing Machinery: 232–237. doi:10.1145/1457720.1457765.

External links[edit]