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In computing, a stylus (or stylus pen) is a small pen-shaped instrument that is used to input commands to a computer screen, mobile device or graphics tablet. With touchscreen devices, a user places a stylus on the surface of the screen to draw or make selections by tapping the stylus on the screen.[1] In this manner, the stylus can be used instead of a mouse or trackpad as a pointing device, a technique commonly called pen computing.

Pen-like input devices which are larger than a stylus, and offer increased functionality such as programmable buttons, pressure sensitivity and electronic erasers, are often known as digital pens.[1]

The stylus is the primary input device for personal digital assistants.[1] It is used on the Nintendo DS and 3DS handheld game consoles, and the Wii U's Wii U GamePad.[2] Some smartphones, such as Windows Mobile phones, require a stylus for accurate input.[3] However, devices featuring multi-touch finger-input are becoming more popular than stylus-driven devices in the smartphone market;[4] capacitive stylus, different from standard stylus, can be used for these finger-touch devices (iPhone, etc.). The stylus (S-Pen) is also used in the famous Galaxy Note series manufactured by Samsung Electronics.

Graphics tablets use a stylus containing circuitry (powered by battery or operating passively by inductance), to allow multi-function buttons on the barrel of the pen or stylus to transmit user actions to the tablet. Most tablets detect varying degrees of pressure sensitivity, e.g., for use in a drawing program to vary line thickness or color density.

Beyond the side of the input mechanism, there has been a need for the physical output of the stylus. Recently, new pen-based interfaces have been proposed to simulate the realistic physical sensations on digital surfaces (e.g., tablet computer, smartphone etc.) to allow users to feel as if they feel like analog-pen writing, for instance, RealPen Project.[5]

The first use of a stylus in a computing device was the Styalator, demonstrated by Tom Dimond in 1957.[6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Shelly, Gary B.; Misty E. Vermaat (2009). Discovering Computers: Fundamentals. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-80638-7. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ "Giz Explains: The Magic Behind Touchscreens". Gizmodo. 13 August 2008. Archived from the original on 26 November 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Charles Arthur (20 October 2009). "Windows Mobile: where's the love? And where's the sales figure?". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Brandon, John (15 December 2008). "The Age of Touch Computing: A Complete Guide". PC World. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ Cho, Youngjun. "RealPen: Providing Realism in Handwriting Tasks on Touch Surfaces using Auditory-Tactile Feedback". ACM. pp. 195–205.
  6. ^ Dimond, Tom (1957-12-01). "Devices for reading handwritten characters". Proceedings of Eastern Joint Computer Conference. pp. 232–237. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-08-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Dimond, T. L. (1958). "Devices for Reading Handwritten Characters". December 9-13, 1957 Eastern Joint Computer Conference: Computers with Deadlines to Meet. Association for Computing Machinery: 232–237. doi:10.1145/1457720.1457765.

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