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Microsoft® Envisioning Lab uses Zytronic Projected Capacitive Touch Sensor Technology

Zytronic continues to find exciting application openings for its proprietary Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™). In the latest example, the company has produced a specially designed touchscreen solution now deployed in Microsoft® Corporation’s Envisioning Lab. The touch sensor has been developed for use in the Lab’s Spatial Desk - a large, fully touch-enabled, multi-monitor workstation.

The Envisioning Lab is based in the Executive Briefing Center of Microsoft®’s global headquarters at Redmond, Washington State, just east of Seattle. Its main purpose is to demonstrate Microsoft’s next generation technologies to its key strategic customers. In addition, the Lab provides a stimulating environment for its software and hardware developers to experiment with different ideas and explore new possibilities.

The Spatial Desk has a total of ten independent but linkable displays, orientated in both horizontal and vertical positions and wrapped around the user. Zytronic’s engineers were given the challenge of designing and producing a single, continuous touch surface, covering the vertical displays. They were able to provide Microsoft with a curved projected capacitive touch sensor which could deal with the unusual shape of the workstation, while offering accurate and responsive touch functionality.

Zytronic’s patented PCT™ technology allows the benefits of projective capacitance touch sensing to be applied to large format displays and an almost limitless range of form factors – giving touch screen designers enormous scope to create innovative user interfaces. At the heart of the ZYBRID® touch sensor technology is a matrix of micro-fine capacitors in this instance mounted to the rear of a curved acrylic substrate almost 2m long, to create a unique, wrap around touch interface.

“With the Envisioning Lab, we now have the opportunity to invite our most valued clients to interact with new concepts that we are in the process of working on and gain feedback on their experiences,” stated John Snavely, who heads up the Envisioning  design team at Microsoft®. “The Spatial Desk can play an important part in how we define our future development strategies and help us bring advanced hardware/software solutions to market.”

“In order for the concept to be realised, we needed a single, large scale touch surface that addressed the complex geometry involved – with displays in 5 different planes,” Snavely continued. “The support we received from Zytronic’s technical staff proved invaluable in accomplishing this goal.”

“We were genuinely excited by the prospect of working with Microsoft® on the Spatial Desk. It has allowed us to push once again the boundaries of what can be achieved with touch technology, so that more advanced forms of human machine interfacing can be derived,” explained Ian Crosby, Sales and Marketing Director for Zytronic. “The PCT™-based wrap-around touch interface created was also the first implementation of our latest, dual-touch capable and WHQL-compatible 128-channel ZXY100 touch controller, and together demonstrates the technology’s potential for truly innovative user interface design to companies using Zytronic’s technology.”