Microsoft patents pressure-sensitive virtual keyboard

While Microsoft may not be releasing a foldable phone this year, a number of its OEM partners are planning to release dual-screen Windows 10 laptops which uses the second screen as a keyboard in some configurations.

Now a new Microsoft patent has been published in which the company explains how a pressure sensitive screen, as found in many smartphones these days, can be used to improve the typing experience on virtual keyboards.

Embodiments relate to using pressure features of touch inputs directed to a virtual keyboard to control the symbols outputted by the virtual keyboard. Specifically, when interacting with a virtual keyboard, pressures of physical touches directed to the displayed virtual keyboard are sensed and included with corresponding touch inputs provided to the virtual keyboard. In the process of determining what symbols are outputted by the virtual keyboard, the virtual keyboard considers the pressure features of the touch inputs. A pressure feature of a touch input directed to the virtual keyboard can control which symbol is outputted by activation of a virtual key by the touch input. The pressure can also, or alternatively, trigger outputting of symbols not corresponding to key activations, transforming words or symbols (e.g., capitalizing, selecting diacritics, applying visual effects).

Lenovo is expected to be the first to release a new dual-screen Windows 10 laptop with the Lenovo Book 2, due sometime this year. Hopefully, Microsoft will be licensing out the patent their OEMs to improve the typing experience for Windows 10 users on this new generation of devices.