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Cyclists Benefit from All-Weather Kiosks Employing Zytronic Touch Sensing Technology

Rugged projected capacitive touch sensors deployed in Japanese self-service bike rental stations.

Zytronic’s proprietary Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™) has become synonymous with providing the highest levels of robustness in unsupervised touchscreen implementations. The company has now announced that its innovative and proven interactive technology, through its Japanese distribution partner, Minato Electronics, been specified for a new outdoor, public-use application. Bike sharing pioneer Pedal LTD. has begun integrating PCT touch sensors into its environmentally-friendly Inter Street rental kiosks, allowing riders to select and hire a bike in a quick and easy manner.

The Inter Street systems are already in the process of being installed throughout Kawagoe city, close to Tokyo. Thanks to the rugged, high performance touch functionality provided by Zytronic, their user interfaces provide year round, reliable outdoor operation, as well as an accurate and fast touch response. Each rental kiosk has a 12-inch customized ZYBRID touch sensor, linked to a Zytronic ZXY100 touch controller using its latest ASIC for improved signal to noise performance. This highly successful, widely-used Zytronic product was chosen over alternative touchscreen technologies because of the high degree of reliability it can deliver in even in the most demanding environments.

Touch screen bicycle rental kiosks in Japan

Applicable to sizes reaching 82-inches or more, PCT sensors consists of an XY matrix of ultra-thin (10µm diameter) copper capacitor elements embedded into a laminated substrate. The resulting touchscreens function in extreme weather conditions, and are virtually immune to most forms of accidental and deliberate damage that unattended self-service terminals are regularly subject to. In contrast, touchscreen technologies that are reliant on front mounted or surface based detection methods have considerable drawbacks in such applications. Resistive and surface capacitive touch sensors, for example, are susceptible to scratches as well as general wear and tear, while optical and infrared technologies require an exposed (and therefore vulnerable) front-mounted bezel to house the transmitting and receiving touch detection electronics.

“Increased reliance on bicycles as a mode of transport clearly has many advantages. It eases of traffic congestion in urban areas and lowers carbon emissions, as well as contributing to a healthier society by encouraging people to exercise more regularly. Our bike rental system empowers this by giving both tourists and commuters greater access to the necessary resources,” states Hiroshi Hirao, CEO, Pedal LTD “The units needs to be able to cope with the rigors of day-to-day use, while also having sleek, attractive exteriors. We could see that through engaging with Zytronic we would be able to satisfy these key design goals.”

“Zytronic touch sensors have been utilized successfully in bike rental kiosks located in London, UK, Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia and other cities. Adding Japan to this list represents another significant endorsement for our proprietary projected capacitive touch technology. As the Pedal LTD. systems are sited in unattended outdoor locations, they will be continuously exposed to the elements, as well as facing the rigors of heavy use and potential damage,” asserts Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director for Zytronic. “Choosing PCT helps to ensure 24/7 availability of the system whatever the season, avoiding costly and embarrassing periods of downtime for the operator.”