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Tuesday, June 04, 2013
NVIDIA Demos New "DirectStylus" Capabilities for Tegra 4, Enhanced Version of Shield

As Computex's doors opened today, NVIDIA demonstrated a new technology for Tegra 4-based tablets that lets a fine-tip passive stylus be used to draw lines of different width simply by varying the pressure applied by the user.

The result is the first low-cost screen stylus that replicates the natural ease of writing - and erasing - directly on paper.

NVIDIA DirectStylus technology applies the image-processing power of Tegra 4's GPU to analyze data from a standard touch sensor and recognize the difference between fine-tip stylus, finger, eraser and palm.

"Users can write on the screen using a simple passive pen and its opposite end can be used like an eraser, whose unique touch pattern can be differentiated from drawing strokes," Nvidia said.

While passive styluses are available on the market, they generally have fat, 5mm tips that draw only one line width without the user selecting different stroke widths from a menu. These are of limited use, especially in Asian markets, where drawing characters requires line strokes of continually varying width.

Active 1.5mm styluses on the market that are capable of making strokes of varying width typically require a dedicated digitizer and cost at least $20. In contrast, DirectStylus solution costs $2 for a passive conductive stylus.

DirectStylus works in conjunction with Direct Touch 2.0 technology which supports up to 300 scans a second (five times the typical 60Hz touch scan rate) to capture more detailed movement of the stylus.

Nvidia also showcased an upgraded revision of the Shield portable gaming device at the Computex trade show Tuesday. The device, which will start start shipping later, has the same basic design as the system unveiled earlier this year, but features different materials that make the portable device feel more solid.

Nvidia also demonstrated a system that lets gamers stream games from a gaming PC to a TV placed somewhere else in the house. The game is converted into an H.264 video stream and then it is transmitted via Wi-Fi from the PC to the other room. A separate Tegra device decodes the video so that the game can be played on the TV.

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