Just as Apple came out with the Magic Trackpad, there were rumors that Microsoft will be releasing a competitor, that wasn’t the case to be. Microsoft’s Arc Touch is different. But based on a patent application I came across Microsoft is planning to take Apple’s Magic Trackpad and actually make it magical. And how do they plan to do it? By adding a display and some natural effects to motions.

The patent application titled Touchpad Display, explains how Microsoft researchers envision the touchpad and a display working together. An image from the application that explains some of the concepts:

The top two images show the pad being split into a display and a touch pad, the display is adaptive based on what you are doing. The third image shows a trail after a finger motion, this is part of the project where animations are used to make the device more intuitive to human interaction. Quoting possibilities from the application:

In one class of examples, touchpad output module 42 operates in a visual effects output mode. In this mode, the output module drives the touchpad to display visual effects on the operative surface of the touchpad based on the cursor control touch inputs that are applied to the touchpad.

one visual effect is a finger painting effect, in which movement of the user’s finger across the touchpad leaves a persisting trail on the surface of the touchpad.

the touchpad could flash a particular color for the duration of a touch input, or the entire touchpad surface could be held at a particular color, pattern or image for the duration of the touch input.

Technically the Touchpad has two main components, the display subsystem and the pad. This different from the pressure sensitive mouse patent application I spotted earlier and will go well alongside the device charger with a display.