A new stylus in the works from Microsoft could allow for input even on non-touch screens.
Rather than relying on a touch screen, the stylus would use a mounted camera to track both movement and angle across the screen, as described by MIT's Technology Review. By using the camera to capture images from the screen, the stylus could actually count the number of pixels being tracked to determine its position.
The current prototype has received kudos within Microsoft, noted Technology Review, and the company is currently deciding whether to push its development forward with the goal of creating a marketable product. Some challenges remain, such as how to track pressure sensitivity on screens without damaging them.
But obviously a stylus that can work on any device would be a boon for Microsoft.
The company has been gearing Windows 8 as a operating system for both PCs and touch-screen tablets.
But many desktop and laptop users have complained that certain features of the OS are difficult to use via mouse and keyboard. A stylus designed to support any laptop or desktop LCD monitor could help alleviate such complaints.
A spokeswoman for Microsoft told CNET that "Microsoft Research is working on projects that include making our interactions with technology more natural; part of that focus includes multiple input methods."
Updated 7/22 6:45 a.m. PT with response from Microsoft.