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Large Customised Zytronic Touch Sensors Selected to Provide Interactivity to Japanese Civic Information System

ZYTOUCH® based touchscreens used by Japanese municipality to showcase its green initiatives

The Uchida Yoko Company Ltd has specified Zytronic’s rugged touch sensor products, which are based on its innovative Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™), for inclusion in yet another highly demanding public use application. Through its distribution partner in Japan, Minato Electronic, Zytonic has shipped five of its customised and laminated ZYTOUCH® sensors, accompanied by ZXY100 high performance touch controllers, to be employed as the user interface (UI) of Uchida Yoko’s latest stylish public information terminal, named Ido.

Ido (which was produced by Uchida Yoko’s manufacturing partner Kengo Kuma & Associates) is an eye-catching, curved multiple screen touch-enabled table that has been installed in Nagaoka City Hall. It can be used by visitors to see the electricity consumption and CO2 reduction levels that have been made possible thanks to the innovative architectural design and advanced technology that this building utilises.

Nagaoka City Hall has been constructed in such a way that it serves as an example of how impact on the environment can be reduced. It makes use of renewable energy resources, with solar power panels installed for generating electricity. The air ventilation can be changed by opening and closing the roof so as not to draw power unnecessarily, while reutilization of rain water and melting-snow water help to lower its overall water usage. The rooftop has trees planted on it, in order to counterbalance the effect of carbon emissions. The Ido system, which is installed in the foyer, displays data relating to the building’s operations. Through the touch-enabled UI, visitors can look at specific elements of the buildings infrastructure and see how effective each has been maximizing energy efficiency.

The proprietary PCT sensing mechanism is highly suited to challenging application settings. It comprises a matrix of micro-fine copper capacitors embedded within a laminated substrate material. The substrate can be situated behind a protective overlay (made of glass or polycarbonate), which can be over 10 mm in thickness - thereby shielding the touch sensor from possible sources of harm. This means that touchscreens based on PCT sensors have far longer operational life spans than conventional, surface capacitive or resistive technologies, where the active area is left exposed to the outside world. Likewise they prove far more suited to this type of task than typical acoustic or optical touch solutions, which require open bezels as part of their sensing methodology – thereby preventing the possibility of a sleek edge-to-edge glass design as well as being a trap for dust, dirt and liquid which ultimately affect touch performance. Furthermore, Zytronic’s proprietary manufacturing process, which relies on a precisely plotted array of copper capacitors and not the chemically processed Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) matrix more commonly seen in other capacitive type touch sensors, enables ultra large screens to be simply produced in an almost limitless range of shapes and sizes.

“The City of Nagaoka is making huge efforts to create a more sustainable future for its citizens and the Ido project was an integral part of communicating this to citizens and visitors alike,” states Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director for Zytronic. “Bringing modern touch functionality to the Ido’s screens and creating a unique structure and shape would have proved all but impossible to other touch sensor manufacturers and technologies, especially given the changes in thickness of the glass overlay along its width. However our extensive experience in deployments of this kind has once again proved invaluable.”