Microsoft patents a new touchpad to improve productivity


Vlad Turiceanu
by Vlad Turiceanu
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Microsoft is working on improving old technologies and adapt them for the future.

In a new Patent Application, the Redmond giant is describing the use and functionality of a touchpad with zones.

Your future laptop might have a new touchpad with multiple zones

microsoft patent touchpad with zones
It seems like the new touchpad that would be implemented on future laptops will be much larger and would have independent zones that trigger different actions.

Here’s how the company describes the technology in their Patent Application Document:

Techniques for layout for a touch input surface are described. Generally, the described techniques enable a touch input surface and/or combination of touch input surfaces to be characterized as a single logical input surface. Based on different contextual factors, the single logical input surface can be divided into different touch input zones that can each receive touch input to invoke a different respective functionality. In at least some implementations, different haptic effects can be output to correspond to different touch input zones.

The document primarily refers to laptop touchpads, but there are a few mentions of touchscreen devices and how multiple touch input zones can improve usability.

App developers could take advantage of Microsoft’s new touchpad

The new functionality aims to improve productivity and app developers can implement it in new programs so that each touch zone could act as a different command and trigger multiple actions:

For instance, when an operating system or other system process is in focus, the touchpad can be configured into different zones based on a particular zone layout defined for the operating system. When an application is in focus, however, the touchpad can be configured into a different arrangement of touch input zones, such as defined by the application and/or for the application. As detailed below, a variety of different context information can be leveraged to determine how to configure a touch input surface. Further, a variety of different types and combinations of touch input surfaces can be leveraged to create an array of different touch input surface configurations.

This means that you can swipe with one finger on one of the touch zones, and with two or three fingers on another one at the same time and trigger multiple actions at once.

The new touchpad with zones promises a whole new world of possibilities, but keep in mind that is just a patent for now.

As with other patents in the past, we don’t know if Microsoft will actually bring it to life or leave it covered in dust.

How would you use a laptop touchpad with multiple zones?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.