THE LATEST INNOVATIONS
Press Sensing / Force Touch & other new technologies
TouchNetix is working on a number of new technologies to enhance the adoption of capacitive touchscreens and to overcome the few remaining limitations when compared to the older incumbent touchscreen technologies such as resistive or infrared.
One of our new technologies which is currently being sampled to selected customers is a capacitive pressScreen which integrates high performance touch technology with force sensing to deliver combined force touch information into the UI. This technology has been developed to be easily integrated into fully sealed environments such as industrial or medical and for where a second ‘layer’ of qualification of touch can improve the certainty of the users intention.
This force sensing touchscreen technology provides a similar effect to the ‘force sensing’ mouse pads which have recently been introduced for use as enhanced input devices on laptop PC’s and to the force touch and 3D touch technology now emerging in handheld and wearable applications. TouchNetix’ capacitive pressScreen prototype measures 10’s of microns of displacement and reports this combined with the touch data as an HID device into the Windows(TM) operating system as a ‘virtual mouse’ in either relative or absolute mode.
Contact us if you would like to know more.
Visit our site regularly to read about our new technologies as they emerge.
New materials and construction
TouchNetix continues to expend effort in understanding the best ways to improve capacitive touch technology for use in the broadest range of applications. New materials are continually evaluated and included in our design tools and new ways to construct sensors are continually embraced and evaluated through the building of prototypes for characterisation. Some examples of our recent activities include:
Sensors manufactured entirely from metal mesh materials as a replacement for ITO – significant performance advantages are possible with the wider range of design options and lower resistance which these materials can provide and with the associated improvements in charge time and noise performance
True single layer sensors – for the very thinnest possible sensor construction and to increase the range of options for formable or bendable sensors, true singe layer provides some significant advantages. TouchNetix design tools fully support true single layer sensors.
Improved liquid tolerance – the design of the sensor stack, in particular the separation of the transmit and receive electrodes has a significant impact on liquid tolerance and has been included in TouchNetix simulation and design tools.
TouchNetix is also engaged as the capacitive touchscreen design and route to market partner on a number of EU and UK government funded initiatives to drive forward new materials and manufacturing technologies.
Cutting edge performance
The majority of the markets which TouchNetix addresses require the highest possible levels of performance from capacitive touch systems. This requires a holistic approach to the design of the touchscreen and the way it is integrated and which accounts for all of the specification needs of the end system design. This must all be achieved while mitigating all of the industrial design, mechanical, EMC and environmental challenges which the application dictates.
TouchNetix engineers leave nothing to chance. They design touchscreens which meet or exceed the most stringent requirements in the industry and then help you to integrate these touchscreens into your end product.
We are confident that you will not be able to source better performing capacitive touchscreens anywhere else.
Unbeatable environmental tolerance
Many industrial applications include quite aggressive environmental requirements and of course long operating lifetimes often with 24/7 operation over many years. When contrasted with a typical consumer application where the touchscreen in the end product is typically turned off (even when the phone is turned on, due to power saving modes in the driver IC) and the life expectation is a couple of years, Industrial applications require a completely different design philosophy.
Unlike those of our competitors, TouchNetix touchscreens are tested under appropriate conditions to meaningfully determine lifetime of the product. One of the most appropriate accelerated lifetime tests is evaluation under powered damp heat conditions, for example 60⁰C / 90% RH.
One of the ways in which the driver IC manufacturers have improved the SNR over the past few years is to increase the sensor drive voltage (in some cases to 40V+) which can have the unfortunate side effect of reducing product lifetime by increasing the strength of the electric field and in some cases can even lead to damage of the dielectric materials in the touchscreen.
Touchscreens which have been damaged by exposure to the environment often do not show any outwards signs but they have become more susceptible to noise compared to their installed performance which for a mission critical application is clearly unacceptable.