Future Apple Pencils could offer shear (not sheer) force feedback

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,009,955) for a “stylus with shear force feedback.” It involves an Apple Pencil (and, yes, I know that Apple denies its a stylus during media presentations) with shear (not sheer) force feedback.

A shear force is a force applied perpendicular to a surface, in opposition to an offset force acting in the opposite direction. This results in a shear strain. In simple terms, one part of the surface is pushed in one direction, while another part of the surface is pushed in the opposite direction.

The shear forces would act on a user to provide unique tactile sensations. For example, an Apple Pencil could provide shear sensations at the a user’s fingers. Or the shear forces could be unaligned forces that urge one part of the user’s hand in one direction and another part of the user’s hand in an opposite direction or that tend to maintain the other part of the user’s hand in a stationary location.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that a variety of handheld devices exist for detecting input from a user during use. For example, a stylus can be utilized to provide input by contacting a touch panel of an electronic device. The touch panel may include a touch sensitive surface that, in response to detecting a touch event, generates a signal that can be processed and utilized by other components of the electronic device. 

A display component of the electronic device may display textual and/or graphical display elements representing selectable virtual buttons or icons, and the touch sensitive surface may allow a user to navigate the content displayed on the display screen. Typically, a user can move one or more input devices, such as a stylus, across the touch panel in a pattern that the device translates into an input command. Apple wants to expand this capability with the Apple Pencil.

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.