New Microsoft hinge patent promises lower closing resistance

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
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microsoft surface new hinge patent

We’ve all been used to Microsoft’s pursuit of improvement when it comes to their products. And the Surface Pro tablets are no exception, namely when it comes to their iconic Surface kickstand.

The Surface is a hybrid tablet and interactive whiteboards line provided by Microsoft, released in late October 2012.

With the exception of the first-generation devices, that used Windows RT, all Surface PCs use Intel processors and are compatible with Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS.

What we know so far

Microsoft recently filed for a patent for a “friction hinge with clutch-based resistance”, to be used in their tablet line. Electronic devices, such as tablets or notebooks often have hinges to support different device configurations and orientations.

Microsoft wishes to improve the rotational resistance of the Surface kickstand, with these changes improving the overall stability and production quality of the tablet.

The detailed description in the filed document further solidifies this claim:

A hinge includes a shaft, a hinge leaf engaged with the shaft, a band clamped around the shaft for rotation about the shaft and pivotal movement relative to the hinge leaf, and a clutch disposed between the band and the shaft. The clutch includes a collar disposed between the shaft and the band. The clutch is configured to lock and unlock the collar to the shaft. Rotation of the band about the shaft in a first direction locks the collar to the shaft for frictional movement of the band about the shaft at a first resistance level. Rotation of the band about the shaft in a second direction unlocks the collar from the shaft for frictional movement of the band about the shaft at a second resistance level lower than the first resistance level.

What other uses can we expect to see?

Information might seem scarce at the moment, having only some sketches to work around as seen in FIG. 2-1 and FIG. 2-2, but we’re excited on how these changes play out, with applicability to phones and tablets.

With the promising perspective of adjustability, of turning your notebook into a tablet, and owning a device that serves a dual purpose, we can only wait.

A future for mobile devices?

Only time and Microsoft will tell how these changes will affect prices and customer satisfaction with their products.

With issues such as size limitation of current mobile screens being on their list as stated in the patent filing, we could expect a return to the clamshell phone but with a touchscreen.

We already have a first taste of the future with the Axom M, and Microsoft’s ambitious project, Andromeda, a Surface-inspired folding phone, with edge display notifications.


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