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Stylus inputs for smartphones and tablets have become largely obsolete, with the exception of devices packing an integrated digitizer and active stylus, like Samsung's Note series and a few others. But some of us love our styli, as millions of cheap, plastic passive pens lining iPad accessory bargain bins across the country demonstrate. NVIDIA is hoping to boost the capability of passive stylus input on Tegra 4 hardware with its DirectStylus solution, a way for a standard capacitive touchscreen to more accurately emulate pen and paper.

JHH1 caligraphy

DirectStylus works by using NVIDIA's Direct Touch 2.0 software to bump touch input scans up to 300 times a second, then applies some of Tegra's GPU power to interpret the results. NVIDIA claims that this technology can easily distinguish between fingers and styli of different "weights," allowing for more accurate and variable digital pen strokes. Users can then flip the stylus for a quick switch to eraser mode. This is primarily targeted towards Asian markets, where this technology can be applied to sensitive character notation. NVIDIA CEO Jen Hsun- Huang showed off the technology by writing his name in traditional Chinese characters with a conventional passive stylus at Computex.

The software is Tegra-specific, but there's nothing on display here that couldn't be emulated on sufficiently powerful hardware. While passive solutions like DirectStylus aren't going to replace digitizers and active styli any time soon, it's certainly nice to see a little innovation in this particular niche. We'll have to test it out on the first Tegra 4 hardware we come across.

Update: Singapore Hardware Zone has video of Huang demonstrating DirectStylus on the Computex floor. Thanks to commenter heat361 for the tip.

NVIDIA Blog - Showing Off New “DirectStylus” Capabilities for Tegra 4 Tablets

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Aymen Fadhel

    That tablet looks like a stretched HTC One.

    • Karlo

      Maybe its next Nexus 7?

  • NCSUgolfer01

    Yeah, that tablet looks sweet.

  • Brian P.

    Dual front facing stereo speakers, stylus, and what looks to be a killer build...damn I want that tablet. If its not the next Nexus 7 it needs to be!

  • sourabh

    R.I.P Note and its wacom digitizer technology

    • Logan Jinks

      I am not so sure about that. This may not have the finesse that you can get out of a wacom device. This might replace more of the generic capasitive stylus actives. As a digital artist am interested by it, but it doesn't look like a viable option yet.

    • HellG

      If you think this "Guessed" pressure that is determined by "scanning the screen", is as accurate as Wacom digitizer or even close then you are up for a surprise...

      • Kokusho

        You must never have used either a samsung note or a real wacom product to think the two are even remotely close when it comes to precision of the stylus
        The note is garbage gimick , this nvidia tech could very easily be at least as good as what samsung offers.

        • Williams Alexander Aguilar

          Damn I'm surprise of how often people talk of "gimick" I have used both Galaxy Note's and as far I can tell (Note 2 being more accurate) they both get the job done. Remember, Note 2 is not a digitizer if you want one buy one not a phone with digitizer like option.

          • Kokusho

            then it depends on the job you re asking.

        • HellG

          Actually i own the Note 2,and my girlfriend is an artist and use/own a wacom bamboo (if i remember the name correctly) And what you are talking about is simply the sensitivity levels, the note 2 support 1024levels which is in entry level drawing tablets which means it's just okey, but it IS a wacom digitizer in there, So yes it is as accurate as an entry level drawing tablet and yes i used both and know the deference

    • GraveUypo

      you have no idea about anything

    • Mikael Chuaungo

      R.I.P Note-- Agree (Galaxy Note's 8 writing response is slower than Nvidia's Note 7)
      R.I.P Wacom Digitizer-- No way in hell..

  • heat361
    • http://twitter.com/LV2355 Laurentiu

      Good job.

    • Mikael Chuaungo

      Of all the examples he had to say Wood. lol..

  • evertjr

    I doubt it will be better than a wacon digitalizer and a proper stylus

    • Mikael Chuaungo

      i doubt it will be priced close to a wacom digitizer

  • Matthew Fry

    Does he understand that the glasses don't go in the mouth?

  • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

    You know you follow technology a bit too much when you recognize Vlad's voice from The Verge. The sad part is he's the only one who didn't understand what was being presented XD.

  • Justin Swanson

    Any know what tablet that is? It looks interesting

  • Chong Kok Hoong

    did this technology just made one of the Toshiba Tegra4 models redundant?

  • Jared J.

    Would there be a setting by any chance to have the device recognize the stylus only?