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Passive digitizer vs Active digitizer

    Question

  • Hello Everyone,

    I am creating a Tablet PC application but my Tablet is quite old and is not helping much. So I 've decided to buy a new one.

    While looking for a Tablet PC I found laptops with Passive or Active digitizers.  I am not sure if a laptop with a Passive digitizer is suitable for development of handwriting recognition.

    Can anyone help me with this? Is an active digitizer really needed for development? What are the disadvantages of using a passive one in Tablet PC's software development?


    Thanks in advance,
    Alexandra Mendes
    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 1:14 PM

Answers

  • Hi Alexandra:

     

    Ether type of digitizer will work fine for development purposes. One disadvantage of passive digitizers is that it will not receive hover events or stylus in range events because it requires actual contact from the pen. One advantage of passive digitizers is that they are usually a little less expensive. So, I guess it depends on whether or not your program requires stylus in rage notification in order to implement things like back of pen erasing.

     

    Regards,

     - Mark Hopkins (MSFT)

    Thursday, March 29, 2007 5:43 PM

All replies

  • Hi Alexandra:

     

    Ether type of digitizer will work fine for development purposes. One disadvantage of passive digitizers is that it will not receive hover events or stylus in range events because it requires actual contact from the pen. One advantage of passive digitizers is that they are usually a little less expensive. So, I guess it depends on whether or not your program requires stylus in rage notification in order to implement things like back of pen erasing.

     

    Regards,

     - Mark Hopkins (MSFT)

    Thursday, March 29, 2007 5:43 PM
  • Hi Mark,

    I am an end user that plans to use Excel for financial calculations, take notes during presentation, I am inclined towards passive digitizers, what would I be missing if I dont buy an active digitizer other than erasing.

    Regards,

    VJ

    Sunday, November 25, 2007 11:53 PM
  • Hi VJ.

     

    The basic difference is that a pen for a passive digitizer is just another object touching the screen. This means that any object touching the screen may be considered a tablet pen by the system, leading to accidental activation. You may be writing, lift the pen, and the ink may shoot down to your wrist, if it's touching the screen. There are a number of ways that manufacturers work around this. Some are certainly more effective than others. Note that capacitive digitizers, such as the one Dell plans to use in their Tablet PC, can get around this by writing an algorithm that only uses input from the tablet pen if it is within range of the digitizer.

     

    Technically, what you "lose" with passive digitizers are "in-air-packets" from the pen, and the "inverted" property. From a user's perspective that means no hover feedback--no ToolTips; UI elements don't change appearance as they do when you "mouse-over" them. The digitizer doesn't know about the pen until it touches the screen. Also, as Mark mentioned, there is no erasing with the back of the pen. You'll have to overtly change the ink mode by clicking an eraser button or something along those lines.

     

    As far as the Tablet and Touch Technology is concerned, you'll lose nothing else. All of the APIs and recognizers will work exactly the same with one caveat: some passive digitizers may sample at a rate slower than 233 times per second. If so, recognition results may degrade. You'll see those types of digitizers in use at supermarket checkouts, for instance.

     

    I hope that this is helpful. Good luck in choosing your Tablet PC.

     

    Eliot - MSFT

     

    Monday, November 26, 2007 6:07 PM