Is Samsung leading the race for an NFC-enabled stylus pen?

Samsung is putting forward plans for a new stylus pen which doubles up as a wireless headset with embedded near-field communication (NFC).

Many people put pens behind their ears, but there now may be a more practical reason for doing so.

The South Korean electronics giant has filed a patent – originally filed in 2011 but verified earlier this month – for a “capacitive stylus pen” which will enable users to make phone calls without an earpiece.

The “ePen” will feature a transmitter and receiver hidden in the clip, as well as a grip made of conductive rubber.

The pen utilises what the patent describes as “a sensing member provided in an inner side of the body portion to sense a current of a human's body”, as well as “a transferring member formed of a conductive material and provided in an end of the body portion to be connected to the sensing member”.

In other words, the pen will pick up on the human body’s ‘micro-current’ and work with the fluidity of a human finger. The patent duly notes that “effort has been exerted to integrate the stylus pen and the wireless headset”.

This would certainly be an upgrade considering that Samsung’s Galaxy Note – with stylus – has been criticised for not being completely intuitive when it comes to notation.

Of course, Samsung has rolled out a variety of stylus pens in the past – most notably the S Pen and the C Pen – but this differs in its claimed NFC capability.

There could be question marks over the authenticity of Samsung’s patent however, with regard to ASUS’ PadFone stylus headset, released earlier this year, which appears to integrate similar features.

Similarly, it will also be interesting as to Samsung’s interpretation of ‘NFC’; many analysts believe that, instead of genuine near-field communication, their radio link could be a different form of Bluetooth.

With the hit-and-miss nature of patents, do you think this will arrive on the commercial market at some point? Do you think Samsung’s bet on stylus pens is a good one? Has ASUS borrowed the idea from Samsung, or is it the other way round?

 

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