The UK based touch sensor specialist Zytronic has taken its rugged Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT) touchscreen solutions beyond the 2-dimensional domain. The company now has the ability to produce PCT sensors for surfaces that are curved along one axis. Available in customised sizes from 19 inch to over 46 inch diagonals, this large format, curved surface product is available in single-, dual- or multi-touch configuration. The screens are suitable for use with rear projection systems, the latest wave of curved LCDs, or even OLED displays.
The radius of the curve can be specified by the customer and the touchscreen can be made with a convex or concave configuration. It is envisaged that the convex designs will be attractive to designers of gaming equipment, where an interactive ‘spinning reel’ movement can be simulated. The concave versions of the technology will facilitate the merging together of several angled screens to create a single, seamless user interface. In both cases, the added dimension creates an organic feel, and allows industrial designers to really push the boundaries of what is possible with touch interactivity, no matter the size or environment for deployment. This could have huge potential in the development of advanced public information systems, digital signage systems and next generation retail automation machines, such as customer facing point-of-sales (PoS) units.
“This is the first time that ruggedized 10-point multi-touch, curved surface touchscreen operation has been feasible in the large format factors that can be used in un-supervised or even outdoor locations, and it underlines the growing need for more sophisticated human-machine interaction in these sectors,” explained Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director for Zytronic. “This solution means that engineers are no longer restricted to single plane user interface deployments, but can create designs with enhanced ergonomics that reflect the growing trend already emerging in the portable consumer space for curved surface touch-enabled products such as the Samsung Nexus S and Nokia N9 smartphones”
Zytronic is also collaborating with Nuiteq & Omnivision to deploy multi-touch whatever the environmental conditions. The company’s Multi Touch PCT product range has been tested with multi-touch software from Omnivision and Nuiteq, both of which offer bespoke and off-the-shelf application suites.
As a result of this development, large form factor displays designed for use in demanding of environments will now be able to benefit from complex gesture recognition and more compelling user interfaces. The fully customisable multi-touch solutions offered by Zytronic consist of a new family of sensors based on the company’s proprietary projected capacitive technology (PCT) and its recently released ZXY200 advanced touch controller. When combined with either the Omnivision Omnitapps or the Nuiteq Snowflake software application packages, and a multi-touch supporting operating system, such as Windows 7, the forthcoming Windows 8 or Linux kernels from 3.5.1 onwards, they are able to bring 10-point multi-touch functionality to ruggedized touchscreens with diagonal dimensions from 22 to over 70-inches.
Crosby said, “Multi-touch is becoming increasingly commonplace as a way for us to interact with display enabled devices. Our new Multi Touch PCT product is designed to support the large display formats used in self-service and public environments as well as applications, such as touch tables, vending machines and interactive digital signage, bringing the functionality found within the consumer space to a far broader spectrum of uses. The compatibility of the technology with the multi-touch application software provided by companies like Nuiteq and Omnivision makes is easier to design and deploy attractive, compelling interfaces.”