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Atmel maXStylus allows simultaneous finger and stylus operation


November 11, 2011

The maXStylus active stylus works with Android 4.0 and Windows 8, offering a 1mm stylus tip, and simultaneous finger and stylus operation

The maXStylus active stylus works with Android 4.0 and Windows 8, offering a 1mm stylus tip, and simultaneous finger and stylus operation

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While modern smartphones can be operated by touch only, styluses certainly have not disappeared. An accurate stylus is actually a must when high precision is required. California-based company Atmel has unveiled a new addition to its touch interface solutions in the form of the maXStylus active stylus for Android 4.0 and Windows 8. It features a 1mm stylus tip, and simultaneous finger and stylus operation.

With maXStylus, users can easily perform touch gestures (e.g. pinch to zoom) with one hand, while writing or drawing with the stylus held in the other hand. This is possible due to multiSense functionality via a single indium tin oxide (ITO) sensor. Basically, it's one sensor detecting both finger and stylus touches, instead of the two sensors that would be required by today's traditional solutions.

Graphic and web designers will certainly benefit from a precise stylus, especially given the recent introduction of Adobe Touch Apps for tablets. maXStylus can also be used to enter equations (generally difficult to type), make handwriting notes, or enter Asian characters.

Other features of the maXStylus technology include:

  • palm rejection - users can comfortably rest their palms on the screen when using the stylus without erroneous touches
  • 1 mm tip diameter and accuracy of +/- 0.25 mm imitate the precision of a real pen tip
  • 140Hz frame rate - accurate writing recognition and capturing of fast gestures (e.g. taps, double taps)
  • high resolution allows users to work with small fonts, write Asian characters, capture minute movements of the stylus
  • pressure sensing with 256 pressure levels improves handwriting and drawing
  • single ITO sensor simplifies system design and lowers its total cost
  • handsets and tablets supported - cross-platform compatibility of the stylus is achievable

According to Atmel, maXStylus and accompanying technologies are compatible with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and the upcoming Windows 8. Samples of maXStylus are currently being sent to company's partners, while first implementations of the touch/stylus input system are expected to appear by early 2012.

See Atmel's video below presenting the maXStylus in action:


It appears they are catching up with Wacom and their pen enabled stylus as used on the Entourage eDGe.


All they need is a clear screen over lay that simluates the feel of a \'pen-on-paper\' to make writing less etch-a sketch looking and more on paper looking. .

Joseph Shimandle

it seems this would be better suited toward a wearable apparatus. It balances the blunt instrument in one hand (eg finger) with the precise in the other (eg stylus) but in doing this you effectively eliminate your fingers on the right hand from being effective control points, whereas if you were to make a \"cap\", if you will, for say your index finger that had a strap around your wrist to keep it in place. While I\'m not sure what kind of tech their stylus carries on board, you could put some buttons on the it that could be actuated by your thumb while still allowing you to have use of nearly all your fingers. Without putting too much thought into it, I could think of at least one good way of giving you full use of all your fingers while still having a fine tip stylus. For the record, I don\'t consider 1 mm fine and I don\'t see why you couldn\'t do this with a capacitive stylus and a finger other than a capacitive stylus possibly not being as \"fine\" a tip.


I will really recommend Atmel stylus or Estylo for capacitive touch screens,they seems to be revolutionary!Excellent review

Aman Shah
I had the chance to use an Atmel stylus at a press event for the new HP ElitePad 900. This is the worst pen experience you can imagine. One of the rubber tip capacitive pens is better than this pen. As a disclaimer, I have owned 2 Ntrig powered pc's & 4 Wacom powered pc's. There is a huge difference between the writing feeling of the Wacom pen systems & Ntrig based. You don't have to love Wacom to admit that they have the best pen technology in the world. Atmel shouldn't have released such a terrible product. If you want the best, you need to vote with your wallet. Buy a Samsung Galaxy Note product that uses a Wacom pen. WyeDamnit
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