The Patent Office published a couple of new Apple patents today for a hand-held stylus that can accurately scan and recreate physical surfaces, and even allow the user to “feel” the texture.

The first patent is for a Texture Capture Stylus and Method technology, which could be used in a stylus for a touch-enabled tablet or large smartphone. The patent describes a stylus with a camera built into the tip that, when run along the surface of an object (an orange, let’s say), would capture the surface texture and allow the connected device to create a realistic image of the orange.

It gets stranger. Another device, a handheld haptic feedback device, would allow the user to “feel” the captured texture as the stylus runs along the surface of the object. Judging by the illustration, the device could be a phone or some dedicated device.

Apple patented another technology, Touch Implement with Haptic Feedback for Simulating Surface Texture, that appears to merge the separate haptic feedback device with the stylus itself. This would allow the user to “feel” the surface of an object in the same hand that’s holding the stylus while the scan is in progress.

Today’s filings are the latest in a series of inventions that may point to a stylus-equipped iPad in the near future.

Research provided by legal technology firm SmartUp Legal.

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