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Haptic touch platform replaces home appliance buttons

Posted: 23 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:haptic? touch? platform? control? module?

HiWave Technologies launches a touch feedback platform that aims to replace mechanical button controls on household appliances with a flat control panel that will, nevertheless, replicate the feel of the buttons. This platform is expected to simplify the manufacturing process for the appliances.

Aside from buttons, the technology also reproduces the feel of switches or keypads for microwaves, fridge-freezers, hobs and ovens. The technology can also be used for industrial, commercial and medical touch control panels.

The Taptic demonstration platform uses HiWave 3rd dimension haptics, and incorporates two HiWave HIHXC9C005-8 haptic actuators, which attach to the back of a flat printed touch interface panel, and a HiWave HiHS9002 haptic control IC. It can work with both capacitive and resistive touch panel technologies.

By using the company's patented Bending Wave technology, the actuators deliver waveforms across the panel to replicate the feel of a mechanical keypad and, if desired, simultaneously overlay audio cues. The key benefit of HiWave's patented Bending Wave Haptics is that the panel can be firmly fixed, or integral in the appliance. No physical movement is necessary as bending waves create the tactile sensation locally in the touch panel. This reduces cost, increases ruggedness and product lifetime, as well as enabling the entire unit to be 'wipe clean'. Moreover, this is achieved with a high level of mechanical efficiency by HiWave's patented inertial exciters, resulting in crisp tactile sensation with low power consumption.

Haptics with audioThe flexibility provided by HiWave's algorithms processed in its haptic control chip enables haptic feedback responses to be precisely selected and tuned by both the user and manufacturer to replicate a wide range of button press sensations. The frequency of operation delivers over an octave for true wideband haptics, and up to 15kHz for audio playback. A range of audio feedbacksfrom simple pings and clicks to mp3 files containing spoken instructions and musiccan also be delivered without additional speakers by using the touch panel as the sound emitter.

HiWave has filed further patents to protect its recent haptics breakthroughs.

HiWave's 'taptics' reference platform is available for demonstration now and evaluation units will be available in 2Q 12. The HiHS9002 control IC and HIHX9C005-8 haptic exciters are also available immediately, in high volume quantities, from HiWave and its distributors.

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