October 26, 2011 report
Glove-friendly touchscreen goes on exhibit
(PhysOrg.com) -- A new screen has been designed that can work with gloved hands, and it comes from Japan-based SMK. The target application will be car-navigation systems which drivers can operate while wearing gloves. The new screen is described as having a sensor panel structure that is noise-resistant. The design allows for a signal clear enough to be detected at high sensitivities.
It's not the first time a technology company has thought up a novel way to operate a touchscreen, but the talking point on the new SMK design is that the company has figured out how to deliver a capacitive touchscreen to work regardless of whether your hand is free or covered with a glove.
SMK improved detection sensitivity by employing a chip that supports high-sensitivity detection and a sensor panel structure that has a high resistance to noise to prevent malfunctions caused by noise. As a result, it became possible to detect a gloved hand.
The 6.5-inch panel can be scaled up to 8-inches. While in-vehicle navigation systems rather than mobile smartphones are the target, observers do not rule out the possibility that the screen might be picked up for clean room environments that require its users to wear gloves.
The Touch Panel segment of the business features pressure-sensitive resistance touch panels, capacitance type touch panels and backlit touch panels.
SMK will exhibit the new glove-friendly panel at FPD (Flat Panel Displays) International 2011, starting today through October 28 in Yokohama.
While the product is new in SMKs portfolio, the idea of making a touchscreen operable with gloved hands is not new to the technology trade. The challenge of touchscreens sensitive to gloved hands has been taken up before.
Earlier this year, at the Mobile World Congress, there was a lot of interest in a show demo by Synaptics. The device could work well with stylus as well as with a gloved hand and was aimed at mobile phones, not cars.
Last year, on show at the same FPD event, was Hitachis version of a glove-friendly touchscreen.
Its clear that SMK joins a growing list of innovative demos that focus on novel touch technologies for ever=popular mobile computing devices. Simply, technology has become tactile. Users, whether gloved or ungloved, expect functionality literally at their fingertips.
As for SMK, the company is to start volume production at a rate of 100,000 units (in terms of 6.5-inch panel) per month.
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