Future Apple Pencils could have hover sensors and expanded touch sensors

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary self capacitance touch sensor panel that can be used to detect touch or hover (proximity) events with an Apple Pencil.

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,416,086) for “sensor design for capacitive sensing.” It hints at an Apple Pencil with expanded touch sensors, as well as “hover” sensors.

About the patent

The patent involves an Apple Pencil with touch sensors with interleaving projections in order to improve “position calculation.” In the patent Apple notes that as touch sensing technology continues to improve, touch sensitive devices are increasingly being used to compose and mark-up electronic documents. In particular, styli have become popular input devices as they emulate the feel of traditional writing instruments. However, Apple says that the effectiveness of a stylus, depends on the ability to accurately calculate the position of the stylus on a touch sensor panel. The tech giant wants the Apple Pencil to be able to overcome wobbling and to detect when it’s hovering over an image or text.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Electrode configurations for reducing wobble error for a stylus translating on a surface over and between electrodes of a touch sensor panel are disclosed. In some examples, electrodes associated with a more linear signal profile are correlated with lower wobble error. In some examples, electrodes can have projections which can interleave with projections of adjacent electrodes. 

“In some configurations, projections of adjacent electrodes can be interleaved in one-dimension; in other configurations, projections of adjacent electrodes can be interleaved in two-dimensions. In some configurations, the width and length of one or more projections in an electrode can be selected based on a desired signal profile for that electrode.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.