Christmas 2018 may have come considerably early. Apple has patented a stylus that can draw on anything and nothing at all.
You read that correctly. The stylus can write in midair.
The patent application describes a pen that can be monitored by a force sensor in the tip or tracked using motion and orientation sensors, a camera, or “an electromagnetic- or sound-based triangulation scheme.” The pen could theoretically be used to produce text or 3D drawings without writing on a touch sensitive surface. It would only require a wireless tether to a computer or similar device.
This means you could draw a 3D mechanical design in midair and have it appear on your computer, rather than be limited to a 2D plane. You can see examples of the stylus’ capabilities here.
Originally filed with in July 2016, the patent was only published in January of this year.
Apple has already patented a produced a pencil-like accessory, the Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil, however, only writs on the iPad Pro. Despite the exciting implications of the newly patented stylus, there is no guarantee that Apple will produce the product for consumption.