A stylus that takes calls? Pray it doesn’t appear on the new Surface Pro

Microsoft has patented a product which looks like a Surface Pen but can be converted into a Bluetooth headset.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to draw on a Surface device while taking a handsfree call – all with one device – Microsoft has got you covered. The device really does make for a strange combination of features but such is the random nature of these kinds of patent applications.

Microsoft is willing to try anything to innovate and diversify when it comes to its peripherals if this recent patent application is to be believed. The patent describes a stylus device – like Microsoft’s Surface Pen – which can then be bent to fit around the ear like a Bluetooth headset

What happens next isn’t entirely obvious from the patent. The patent seems to suggest the end of the stylus can be removed and acts as an earpiece. This would raise the question, why do you need to bend the stylus around your ear then?

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Surface Pen

Image Credit: Microsoft Technology Licensing

Well – on one page of the patent, found by OnMSFT – the phrase “bone conduction” is mentioned. Bone conduction is a relatively new way to deliver audio that has not quite reached the mainstream. In simple terms, bone conduction provides audio via vibrating bone near your ear before making its way to your inner ear then your brain. Traditional audio delivery enters through vibrations of the eardrum.

Therefore, it would seem you can take and receive calls with just the small removable earpiece but curving the stylus around your ear may provide better sound quality. The patent is less than clear and – of course – there’s the possibility the technology will never see the light of day.

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In the words of the patent itself, the Surface Pen-like device is “a computer peripheral [that] includes a stylus having a capacitive stylus nib and an earpiece dock. An earpiece is removably dockable at the earpiece dock. The earpiece includes a speaker, an earpiece battery, and a wireless radio configured to communicatively couple with a host device”.

The name of the patent may shed some light on how Microsoft intends the device to be used. “Flexible Carpenter’s Stylus with Dockable Earpiece” is the name of the curvy stylus Bluetooth-y call-y thing – suggesting the idea is to copy the way carpenters and other artsy people place pens behind their ears.

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