Microsoft has discovered a novel way to charge its next Surface Pen

A future version of Microsoft’s Surface Pen could eschew the need for a battery by harvesting power from the display of a Surface device.

Microsoft has been granted a patent for the tech, which would use solar cells near the tip of the pen, in order to absorb and store the intense light emitted by the screen.

In the recently-published patent (via OnMSFT), Microsoft explains how the light could be converted to energy that’d keep the pen in use without having to charge or replace the battery via conventional means.

Microsoft writes in the patent published this week: “Due to the close proximity of the stylus to the touch screen during harvesting, the intensity of light that is collected from the electronic display is significantly higher than intensity from ambient lighting in a room or from outdoor lighting. The higher intensity light may lead to harvesting at a faster rate.”

Related: New Surface Pro review

Interestingly, Microsoft also provides an example of a special dock that would deliver the same light to the pen while it isn’t in use.

Currently, the Surface Pen available with Surface devices is powered by a single AAAA battery, which promises up to 12-months of battery life and can be replaced by twisting off the cap.

In the past, Microsoft has patented alternate solutions that would charge the pen while it is attached to the Surface device itself. A patent filing last September showed plans for inductive charging elements within the casing of a PC, along with strong magnets to hold the pen in place.

Whether either of these technologies make it into the Surface Pen launched alongside the next Surface Pro  remains to be seen. However, it least we know that Microsoft is looking beyond the old school battery.

Are you happy with the Surface Pen? What improvements would you like to see if Microsoft refreshes the device this year? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.