A stylus with unique properties has been patented by Microsoft that we hope gets produced at some point. The stylus can determine the color of a physical object by holding the tip to it. This could be put to use in many different ways.
Uses for such technology immediately come to mind, including digitally reproducing any color that the stylus owner needs to match exactly. It could also be used to execute tasks on a PC with a color-coded card built for that purpose. Tap the stylus on the color representing a particular application to run it.
While the color sensing is useful, the patent also covers the ability for the stylus to sense and digitally reproduce the texture of real objects. This could be a useful function for those working in 3D graphics and modeling. Tap the object and have the surface texture appear onscreen, exactly reproduced.
This could be incorporated into 3D printing software which would result in the ability to physically reproduce surface textures of objects on printed products.
As with any patent there is no guarantee such a stylus will ever be produced. This one sounds like there would be a market for it so hopefully it will be the exception and materialize at some point in the future.