InPlay Technologies Announces New WriteSense Digital Pen Technology

InPlay TechnologiesSeveral weeks ago, I made reference to some potentially game-changing technology being developed by InPlay Technologies, and today, they have taken the covers off. InPlay Technologies has announced their new WriteSense digital pen technology which eliminates the need for a separate electromagnetic digitizer. InPlay’s RF pen communicates directly with the capacitive touch sensors rather than requiring a digitizer. The immediate benefits result in much smaller form factor slate and convertible tablet pcs, as well as reduce costs for bringing tablet pcs to market. As more OEMs begin to integrate capacitive touch sensors in to their screens (think Windows 7), InPlay’s solution could bust the gate wide open for Tablet PC technologies. Look for the WriteSense pen technology to come to market in mid 2009.

““Our new technology enables active pen capability at an incremental cost when capacitive touch systems are used,” said Van Potter, InPlay President and CEO. ““We believe that our technology could be rapidly adopted in the tablet PC and e-reader markets. We are also seeing strong interest from the Smart phone segment.”

““WriteSense eliminates the cost and performance barriers to integrated capacitive touch and pen in all these applications,” Potter continued. ““Target applications also include integration into track pads.”

WriteSense advantages:
• No additional ITO or glass layers required, resulting in high optical performance
• Low cost integration and thin stack-up by eliminating the digitizer behind the LCD or a specially configured LCD
• Active RF pen enables high resolution pen capability, gesture support
• Digital architecture allows for feature expansion
• Low power, battery-free
• Simple supply chain, standard components

Press release:

InPlay Technologies (NASDAQ: NPLA) today unveiled its
patent-pending WriteSenseâ„¢ digital pen technology, coupling active RF pen input with capacitive
touch systems. WriteSense eliminates the need for a separate electromagnetic digitizer by
communicating directly with the capacitive touch sensors, resulting in a smaller three-dimensional
form factor and a cost effective solution.

Popularized by the iPhone, capacitive touch technology enables many advanced features over
other types of touch input. However, it is limited in that it requires a finger’s ability to provide
capacitive coupling to interact with the screen. The traditional stylus will not work with a capacitive
screen. Nor will fingernails, or even use with gloves, causing frustration to users.

Working with InPlay, OEMs can integrate WriteSense into the existing capacitive touch
architecture already being adopted for mobile devices. The active digital pen enables the
precision, accuracy and speed of pen input, and the ability for advanced features based on
InPlay’s unique digital architecture. Unlike most pen input systems that utilize analog
communication, InPlay technology uses digital stream communication bringing stronger
performance and enhanced feature capability.

““Our new technology enables active pen capability at an incremental cost when capacitive touch
systems are used,” said Van Potter, InPlay President and CEO. ““We believe that our technology
could be rapidly adopted in the tablet PC and e-reader markets. We are also seeing strong
interest from the Smart phone segment.”

In a recent report, ABI Research notes a significant opportunity in Asia for touchscreens that
support handwriting recognition using a stylus because of the character alphabet used in the
region. Resistive touch technology, along with an active pen or passive stylus, currently
dominates this market.   OEM’s prefer the gesture and multi-touch features capacitive pen
technology offers in mobile applications, but where handwriting recognition is required, they are
forced to use resistive technology in small form factor applications or the more complex and
costly traditional digitizer for larger applications such as tablets and notebooks.

““WriteSense eliminates the cost and performance barriers to integrated capacitive touch and pen
in all these applications,” Potter continued. ““Target applications also include integration into track
pads.”

WriteSense advantages:
• No additional ITO or glass layers required, resulting in high optical performance
• Low cost integration and thin stack-up by eliminating the digitizer behind the LCD or a
specially configured LCD
• Active RF pen enables high resolution pen capability, gesture support
• Digital architecture allows for feature expansion
• Low power, battery-free
• Simple supply chain, standard components

InPlay has demonstrated prototypes of WriteSense to various OEMs and strategic partners.
WriteSense will be commercially available mid 2009.