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several styluses; (L to R) PalmPilot Professional, Fossil Wrist PDA, Nokia 770, Audiovox XV6600, HP Jornada 520, Sharp Zaurus 5500, Fujitsu Lifebook P-1032

In computing, a stylus (or stylus pen) is a small pen-shaped instrument that is used to input commands to a computer screen or mobile device. The user places the stylus on the surface of the screen to draw or make selections by tapping the stylus on the screen.[1]

A stylus pen being used with a smartphone

Pen-like input devices which are larger than a stylus, and offer increased functionality such as programmable buttons, pressure sensitivity and electronic erasers, are often known as digital pens.[1]

The stylus is the primary input device for personal digital assistants.[1] It is also used on the Nintendo DS game console.[2] Some smartphones, such as Windows phones, require a stylus for accurate input.[3] However, devices featuring multi-touch finger-input are becoming more popular than stylus-driven devices in the smartphone market.[4]

The first use of a stylus pen in a computing device was the Styalator, demonstrated by Tom Dimond in 1957.[5]


See also



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