White Paper: Electronics & Computers

The Touch Screen Integration Problem

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As touchscreen technology continues to be integrated into nearly every part of our lives, the demand for environmentally flexible systems is increasing. Touchscreen-controlled showers, drink dispensers, ovens, etc. have unique environmental requirements. Surprisingly, the majority of touchscreens on the market today have not added configurable touch sensitivity to their feature set. Touch controller manufacturers have moved forward in this realm, but many standard touch display modules do not take full advantage of the touch controller’s capabilities.

When designing a system that requires touch input, an engineering team must consider numerous factors including user interface control layouts, host system environment(s), and required screen protection. Design of user input control layouts are flexible and handled by software changes, placements of buttons, text, and image placement. However, host system environment(s) and screen protection design may not be as accommodating.

Noritake understands the many touchscreen integration challenges that engineering teams face. This drove the development of metallized projective capacitive touch (MPCT) technology and continues to push the improvement of touchscreen sensitivity flexibility in firmware and tools.

Challenges arise with touchscreens whenever an obstacle is introduced between the sensors and touch input. Common obstacles are gloves, water, overlay, and air.

Gloves are typically worn in medical and industrial environments and add an extra layer of material between the touch sensor and finger. Depending on the type of glove, it may create a large distance between the finger and touch sensor. For example, leather gloves add an extra layer between the user’s finger and touch sensor, thus reducing the electrical field change between electrodes and, in turn, reducing the perceived touch levels.

This white paper outlines touchscreen integration pitfalls and provides information on touch technology designed to fit a wide range of environments.

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