What is the USI specification?

The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) specification is an open standard being developed by leading OEMs, stylus and touch controller manufacturers driving industry standards to promote interoperable active styluses with touch-enabled devices such as phones, tablets, and computing and entertainment platforms.

USI launched in 2015 to define industry-wide standards for interoperable communication between an active stylus and touch-enabled devices such as phones, tablets, computing and entertainment platforms.

The USI standard defines the communication method by which the stylus sends data about the stylus operation to the smart phone, tablet or notebook PC. The data includes information such as pressure levels, button presses or eraser operation. In addition, USI technology makes use of the existing touch sensor (via a technology called Mutual Capacitance) in smart phones, tablets and notebook PCs, so that the added cost for enabling USI technology on these devices is zero or minimal.

The USI specification is expected to be completed in Q4 2015, with products supporting USI available thereafter.

Products that support USI will be labeled in their product literature. Look for the USI logo in the product literature or description.

No. We are building some provisions into the specification for switching to legacy modes if both sides – the stylus and the device — understand that legacy. But in general a legacy stylus will not work with a USI system.

Leading suppliers of smart phones, tablets and notebook PCs, as well as stylus suppliers and touch controller providers, have come together to create the standard and promote the technology. View the USI members.

USI membership is open to any organization that is interested in being involved in this industry initiative to develop a specification for an interoperable active stylus.

To join USI, request a membership packet, review and submit the Participation Agreement according to the instructions, and remit your dues when you receive an invoice. When payment is received, your membership benefits will be activated.

No. You must be a member to obtain the specification and to license the IP that is being built into the specification. If you want to build a stylus that complies with the USI specification, you will need to become a member.