This interesting development was flagged to me recently and is of great interest personally as I battle with the “Touch barrier” that the pervasive use of capacitive type touch-screens pose.
Hitachi Displays has developed a projective-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panel that can convert input from a non-conductive object into electrostatic capacitance, thus allowing the use of a plastic stylus, gloved hands, or other similar objects.
Read more on the release below:
Development of Electrostatic Capacitance Touch-panel that can be Operated with a Plastic Stylus, Gloved Hand, or Other Non-Conductive Object
Using a plastic stylus | Using fingers
Hitachi Displays, Ltd. (President: Yoshiyuki Imoto, hereafter referred to as Hitachi Displays) has developed a projection-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panel that can be operated with a plastic stylus, gloved hand, or other non-conductive object. With this touch-panel, information entered with a non-conductive object is converted to electrostatic capacitance. This technology that allows non-conductive objects to be detected has not been possible previously with projection-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panels; operation with objects such as a plastic stylus, only possible with resistive touch-panels before, is now possible for the first time. In addition to using multiple fingers on an LCD simultaneously to perform multi-touch operations such as zooming in on screens and moving icons, this new development allows a variety of input options such as detailed data entry using a plastic stylus or operation of a device with gloves on in cold climates.
In recent years, touch-panel LCDs have been used widely in smart phones and digital cameras, and it is expected that such markets will continue to be pivotal in maintaining the high growth rate of touch panels. In particular, projection-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panels are increasing in popularity because they allow a very light touch as well as multi-touch operations. Therefore, there has been an increasing need for variation in input options for projection-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panels, such as the use of a plastic stylus to perform detailed operations on increasingly sophisticated interfaces, and the operation of digital cameras in cold climates while wearing gloves. However, until now projection-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panels produced a mild electric current on the surface of the LCD, and detected changes in the electric current to determine where the user’s fingers were touching the display. Therefore, non-conductive objects such as a plastic stylus or a gloved hand, which can be used to operate resistive touch-panels, could not be used because they have no effect on electric current.
To counter this, Hitachi Displays has developed a projective-type electrostatic capacitance touch-panel that can convert input from a non-conductive object into electrostatic capacitance, thus allowing the use of a plastic stylus, gloved hands, or other similar objects. This advanced projection-type electrostatic capacitance touch panel that we have developed seamlessly detects both conductive and non-conductive objects, without compromising responsiveness to light touch or design considerations. A common controller IC can be used as the detection controller, allowing detailed data entry with a coordinate detection error of ±0.5mm or less (coordinate detection accuracy: ±1.0%) when using a stylus with a 0.8mm tip. In addition, non-conductive objects made from a variety of materials including wool, natural or synthetic leather, and synthetic fabrics can be used. Further, since it is possible to perform operations using a plastic stylus and your fingers simultaneously, new applications and interfaces for a variety of uses are now possible.
Hitachi Displays will continue to strive to improve development and sales of such small- and medium-size LCDs with a high level added value. We shall also continue to advance in terms of customer support including touch-panel control systems as a means to contribute to the development of products for our customers.
This newly developed touch panel will be on display during “CEATEC JAPAN 2010”, from October 5 to October 9 at Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex.
Hat tip to @royblumenthal