Remember the Surface Dial? It’s a tool for creative types, like a rotary dial which is used for graphics and design purposes. It’s priced at $99 and lets you triggers tools in Photoshop, enlarge or resize screen items, plus more. Now there’s a new version brewing, according to a freshly leaked patent. Let’s check it out.

It seems we are dealing with a transparent Surface Dial here, that has been patented by Microsoft recently. The original unit was a sort of hockey puck shaped unit, but this new one with its transparency may increase the ease of use and functionality. The first unit was able to rotate, zoom in and generally provide multi model input. Usually it pairs up with a pen and hand gestures on a larger touchscreen.

The new patent proposes a partially transparent Surface Dial accessory, with an image transfer structure, that relays or transfers the content on the touch display to the top side of the Dial. This device will have a capacitive marker, which can be recognized by the touch display and it will visually present the content aligned with the image transfer structure from the Dial accessory.

For me the most useful part of this is graphics editing. Imagine drawing a game character and being able to zoom in on him, while using the transparent Dial as a magnifying glass of sorts and tweaking each beard hair of the character for example. Pretty cool, right? Use cases are endless and this may just start a trend with transparent accessories. I can also envision this being used in medicine somehow, on digital patient charts.