Touchless User Interface technology for better hygiene in multi-user display screens
- TouchNetix has integrated new Touchless User Interface technology alongside touch, force, proximity and hover sensing plus haptics control into its aXiom touchscreen chip
- Gesture sensing capability for hygienic touchless mode of operation requires no new or additional sensor element, electrodes or other hardware
- Solves the problems of multiple touchscreen users passing COVID-19 or other viruses and bacteria from person to person
Fareham, UK, 30 November 2020 – TouchNetix, a manufacturer of system and component technology for high-performance touchscreens, today announced that its aXiom touchscreen chips now offer a built-in capability to detect various air gestures to allow for hygienic, touchless operation of multi-user devices such as kiosks, elevators and ticket sales machines. The chip’s gesture capability is also ideal for use in medical equipment, and for operating the touchscreen user interface in cars.
The highly integrated aXiom chips already enable rich touchscreen functionality, implementing proximity, hover, touchscreen and force sensing, as well as haptic feedback control. An aXiom chip operates via a standard touch-sensing element with up to 112 sensor channels in displays with a standard or arbitrary aspect ratio.
Now TouchNetix is to ship the aXiom IC with built-in touchless capability as well. From more than 6 cm above the touch surface, the aXiom IC enables Air Dwell, Air Tap, Air Swipe and Air Spin gesture recognition. These gestures may be used to replace functions such as button presses, scrolling through a series of screens, and actuating graduated controls such as a virtual rotary knob for controlling audio volume or fan speed. This Touchless User Interface technology is supported by gesture recognition software running in the host system’s controller or processor.
The range of air gestures can easily be configured and extended by system designers using a development tool supplied by TouchNetix. Normal touchscreen operation is implemented seamlessly alongside the new touchless controls.
Unlike competing touchscreen controllers, the aXiom chip implements gesture sensing using a touchscreen’s normal touch sensor element. It requires no additional electrodes, board-level components, sensors or other hardware.
This means that it is easy and quick for touchscreen manufacturers to design, test and qualify a new touchscreen product with touchless interface capability, while benefiting from a lower component count and lower system cost than any competing solution requires.
Chris Ard, Managing Director of TouchNetix, said: ‘The easy implementation of intuitive gesture controls such as Air Tap and Air Spin enables manufacturers of multi-user touch interfaces to enable hygienic use without the risk that users will pass on or pick up viruses, bacteria or other contaminants on their fingers. Medical applications can also benefit from the improved hygiene that the aXiom touchless user interface controls can provide.
‘There is very strong market interest for touchless controls now the world has been made hyper-aware of disease transmission via hand contact since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now touchscreen manufacturers have an easier and more integrated way to implement gesture control and eliminate the need for users to touch the surface of the screen.’
Due to the strong market and end-user demand for touchless user interfaces, TouchNetix is seeking additional manufacturing and distribution partners around the world to help us implement this exciting new technology as widely and quickly as possible.
For more information about TouchNetix’ Touchless User Interface technology, go to www.touchnetix.com/touchless-user-interfaces.
The background to the aXiom series of products
The aXiom products owe their ultra-high sensitivity to a combination of a novel analogue front end which uses a narrowband, low-voltage sinusoidal drive waveform, frequency diversity to avoid electrical noise, and a high-performance proprietary digital signal processor (DSP) engine. The most striking feature of this new architecture is its high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of over 80dB which is 100 times better than existing touchscreen chips on the market.
The aXiom controller combines capacitive proximity sensing at a distance of over 10 cm, and hover sensing of a finger as much as 6 cm distant from the screen, supporting new functions in touchscreen UIs such as the touchless user interfaces highlighted here. In addition, the controller integrates concurrent force sensing and haptics control.
The aXiom chips support a wide range of touchscreen display sizes with touch- and force-sensing sampling rates of more than 200Hz.
For information on pricing and to request samples of the aXiom controller chip or a datasheet, contact TouchNetix directly at www.touchnetix.com/contact.