MICROSOFT wants to kill off your computer mouse with a smart pen replacement.
The tech giant has nabbed a patent that enables the stylus for its Surface tablet (known simply as the Surface Pen) to act like a PC mouse's scroll wheel, reports The Sun.
The modified Surface Pen packs a touch-sensitive retention clip, which you roll your finger along for zoom and scroll controls.
Inside the stylus is a conductive material that connects to a sensor, which measures the electrical changes that are produced when you touch it.
"By providing a touch-sensitive retention clip on the stylus, the stylus is able to provide scrolling, zooming, and/or other computing functionality in a manner that is similar to a scroll wheel of a mouse device," the patent states.
"As such, a user may forgo using a mouse device in favor (sic) of the stylus when interacting with a computer."
Another new addition to the Surface Pen detailed in the patent shows a way to switch the device out of power saving mode when it senses touch.
Microsoft isn't the only company developing what could be a groundbreaking new stylus.
Apple recently filed a patent for a 3D motion-sensing Pencil that lets you draw on any surface, and even in midair.
Meanwhile, Samsung patented a Galaxy Note smartphone that included an insane stylus that acts as both a microphone and breathalyser.
It's important to note, though, that not all patents result in a product making it to the public.
But, they do give us a fascinating look at the inner workings of tech's biggest innovators.
The current Surface Pen comes in four colours (black, burgundy, blue, and platinum).
It includes an eraser button at the top that also takes a screenshot when pressed, and opens OneNote with a double click.
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