Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems Europe has recently introduced an SMD push-button switch named “Light Touch Switch”, which is the thinnest of its kind currently on the market with a thickness of only 0.50mm. The device features a very small footprint of only 2.6×1.6mm and it is designed for use in wearable devices (smart watches, wristbands, etc.), hearable devices (headphones, hearing aids, etc.), as well as healthcare devices (portable medical devices, etc.). Benefiting from a very light operating force of only 1.0N but still giving a clear tactile feedback, the switch is water-resistant and dust-proof (compliant with IP67 level specifications) making it ideal for use both in indoor and outdoor applications. Mass production will start in August 2017.
Yoichi Nakagawa, product manager European E-Mech Components Team at Panasonic, comments: “In the past, the operability and tactile feedback of switches deteriorated as they were made thinner due to restrictions associated with their contact structure design. However, Panasonic’s Light Touch Switch achieves excellent operability and tactile feedback by utilising a unique movable contact design technology, precision processing technology, and press working technology. This allows the switch to meet the need for space-saving design, contributing to making various devices smaller and thinner and improving the design flexibility of such devices.
“In addition, Panasonic’s new sealing method, in which the cover and the base undergo laser welding, makes the switch water-proof and dust-proof. Therefore it is ideal for use in a wide range of environments,” he adds.
The use of hearable devices such as hearing aids is expected to increase, driven by aging societies as well as increased numbers of wearable devices due to growing numbers of IoT-enabled products. Push-button switches are installed in these devices for turning their power on and off, switching functions, and controlling the volume. There is a growing need not only for smaller sizes and profiles, but also for easy operability, tactile feedback, and water-proof as well as dust-proof capabilities.