A Microsoft patent application documented with the U.S. Patent Office on May 1, 2017, has surfaced and it shows the design for a “reflective multilayer structure to present information on the external surface” on the back of a sample device.

The patent abstract is replete with hints of an idea for using the underutilized space on the back of Surface devices by showing an image of a 2-in-1 device with the words “metallic writing surface” illuminated on its back.

The ‘Background’ section of the patent sheds some light on the concept in the following words: “Consumer demand for smaller and more powerful personal electronics devices drives innovation to adapt existing device components for new and/or multiple purposes. Many laptop computers and accessory keyboards include the surface area that does not serve a functional electronic utility. For example, some devices include surface area near a keyboard or touchpad that is largely unused except as a mechanical support or resting place for a user’s wrists.”

Metallic Writing SurfaceThe innovations outlined in the patent refers to the use of a reflective panel to make the surface metallic so that it creates a “uniformity in color and tone” between the display and other parts of the device.

The device may support ‘Touch’, along with an implementation intended to support the use of technologies allowing a user to “draw on the reflective external surface with a finger or stylus and the underlying may selectively illuminate pixels at corresponding locations.” A final proposed version of the reflective panel posits it as the primary OLED, LCD or LED display for when the device is closed.

The patent continues, saying, “Although the reflective display is visible when the laptop is in the open position, the user, may in some implementations elect to fold the laptop into a closed position with the reflective display facing up to more directly view or interact with information.”

While the concept has yet to take shape for consumption purposes, it nevertheless promises a revolution in the constitution of computing devices, once realized.

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