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Zytronic extends capabilities of touch sensor tech

Posted: 23 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:touch sensor? transparent ITO? touch devices?

Zytronic announced that it has developed a range of sensors that use deposited tracks of transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) and is suitable for small, ruggedized touch devices. The new sensors complement Zytronic sensors that use copper strand electrodes.

With the current surge in demand for consumer tablet PCs expected to lead to increased use of similar devices in industrial and public-use applications, Zytronic expects its ITO-based PCT sensors to be incorporated into a new wave of touch-enabled, handheld devices used in enterprise applications.

"The range of new products are suitable for high volume industrial uses, such as medical tablets, home appliances and some novel human machine interface (HMI) surfaces for automotive applications," says Ian Crosby, Zytronic sales and marketing director.

The ITO sensors are based on Zytronic's proprietary Projected Capacitive Technology, which enables accurate touch detection through thick glass and even gloved hands, both of which would hinder or prevent the operation of conventional mutual capacitive type pro-cap sensing solutions.

"The new sensors build on the established and proven advantages of the technology in industrial and public use touch screen applications and bring an exciting new value proposition to an increasingly competitive market," claims Mark Cambridge, CEO of Zytronic.

ITO, already widely used in consumer displays and touch screens, is an electrically conductive material that can be deposited in near transparent structures. Zytronic will initially deliver its ITO touch sensors in 7-inch, 8-inch, and 8.4-inch display formats, with larger sizes to follow.

According to Crosby, the products can be either supplied as a flexible, polyester (PET) sensor for assembly/lamination by the customer, or pre-laminated to glass at the company's 7000 m2, class 100 clean room facilities.

Customized designs can PET sensor to be applied to some curved as well as flat surfaces. Coupled with its ability to detect touch through a variety of materials, this opens up the opportunity for automotive HMI designers to seamlessly integrate touch controls into a contoured dashboard, rather than conventionally embed a bezel-surrounded screen into the center console, according to Crosby.

Crosby said automobile manufacturers are interested in such flexible touch screens but would not divulge which care makers are making real commitments.

The ITO-based touch sensors use the same patented self-capacitive, frequency modulation sensing method of touch detection as the company's existing PCT-based sensor portfolio, and have been designed to work with its latest ZXY100 controller/chipset and driver suite.

"This introduction also provides an easy migration path for designers of industrial and medical devices looking to incorporate PCT for the first time, as they move through the prototyping and pilot phases of a product development, prior to mass production," says Crosby.

He adds that, "Furthermore our ability to supply these sensors in a flexible polyester film format opens up new and intriguing touch interface design possibilities."

- Nicolas Mokhoff
??EE Times

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