Force sensing technology interprets sensor interaction

Bringing new levels of interactivity, Zytronic announces the addition of force sensing to its touch sensors. This allows ATMs, kiosks, game terminals and interactive video walls to differentiate between a soft and hard touch.

Force of pressure is a way of interacting with a touchscreen. For retail, commercial and industrial markets, it can add a new dimension. The company says that when used with its multi touch technology, it can exceed what is possible on all but the most advanced tablets and smartphones today.

The company’s approach is based on a measurement of the surface area of an applied touch, which changes the measured capacitive signal levels at the relative touch location on the sensor. This eliminates the need for a piezo-electric or other layers on the glass to measure applied force or pressure.

For example, a soft touch can open a preview window and pressing harder fully opens the window. On a kiosk, a soft touch can bring up a menu of options and increasing the applied force makes a selection. This can make kiosks and ATMs more accessible to partially-sighted users, for example; or an initial soft touch can trigger an audio confirmation of the selection, and increasing the force activates the choice.

Other options for innovation are for developers to create drawing and writing applications that respond to applied force without an active stylus, for example in music applications, as well as for gaming and other smart user interfaces.

The Zytronic force sensing feature is offered in a custom firmware release for its ZXY150, ZXY200 and ZXY300 controllers. The feature does not entail any hardware modification, so existing customers could retrofit force sensing by refreshing the firmware and adapting their application to respond appropriately.

Customers using the feature are provided with a new version of the ZyConfig software that supports the feature, together with an output protocol note on how an app developer can access the force sensing data from our controller and use it in their app development.


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