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Zytronic extends the capabilities of projected capacitive touch sensor technology with launch of new range


16 May 2011

Innovative touch sensor specialist Zytronic has announced the launch of a new range of its ZYBRID® sensors employing deposited tracks of transparent Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) as the sensing medium to complement the present product sensor range which utilizes copper strand electrodes. These will deliver significant advantages over other currently available ITO-based mutual capacitive type pro-cap offerings, particularly for smaller, ruggedized touch devices.

Based on Zytronic’s proprietary Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™), the new ITO-based sensor range complements the company’s existing portfolio of touch sensors and can accurately detect touch through thick glass and even gloved hands, both of which would hinder or prevent the operation of conventional mutual capacitive type pro-cap sensing solutions. Furthermore, the process of manufacture makes the new product range suitable for higher volume industrial uses, such as medical tablets, home appliances and some novel human machine interface (HMI) surfaces for automotive applications.

ITO is an electrically conductive material that can be deposited in near transparent structures. It is already widely used in the display and touchscreen industries. Zytronic will initially deliver its ITO touch sensors in 7" (177.8 mm), 8" (203.2 mm), and 8.4" (213.36 mm) display formats, with larger sizes to follow. These products can be either supplied as a flexible, polyester (PET) sensor for assembly/lamination by the customer, or pre-laminated to glass at the company’s 7,000 m2, class 100 clean room facilities.

This first option offers customers the opportunity to create truly customized designs, as the PET sensor may be applied to some curved as well as flat surfaces. Coupled with its ability to detect touch through a variety of materials, this opens up the opportunity for automotive HMI designers to seamlessly integrate touch controls into a contoured dashboard, rather than conventionally embed a bezel-surrounded screen into the center console.

Zytronic’s new ITO-based touch sensors utilize the same patented self-capacitive, frequency modulation sensing method of touch detection as the company’s existing and award winning PCT-based sensor portfolio, and have been designed to work with its latest ZXY100 controller/chipset and driver suite.This means that Zytronic can deliver a complete solution to its customers, considerably reducing development time. It also allows designers to progress through the development phase of a project using the fast prototyping friendly copper strand electrode ZYBRID® sensors, and to migrate to mass production with the ITO sensors when volumes justify - all with no change to the touch system’s ancillary hardware/software. Customers can also benefit from the fast response, gesture recognition and dual touch functionality afforded by the increasingly popular ZXY100 touch controller.

With the current surge in demand for consumer tablet PC's expected to lead to increased use of similar devices in industrial and public-use applications, Zytronic expects its ITO-based PCT sensors to be incorporated into a new wave of touch-enabled, handheld devices used in enterprise applications by delivery operatives, field engineers, nurses, warehouse staff, etc. where high levels of durability are essential and gloved hand operation a requirement. In addition, with the home appliance and automotive industries increasingly seeking to replace mechanical switches and dials with touchscreen interactivity for reasons of design aesthetics, ergonomics and hygiene, it can be foreseen that the depth of touch sensitivity provided by Zytronic’s new product range will generate interest from product designers in these markets.

“Zytronic’s new ITO-based touch sensors are the result of the continuous development of PCT by our electronic and material engineers. These products signify the next phase in Zytronic’s progression as a company, presenting a more expansive range of projected capacitive sensors to an ever changing market,” states Mark Cambridge, Chief Executive Officer, Zytronic. “The new sensors build on the established and proven advantages of the technology in industrial and public use touchscreen applications and bring an exciting new value proposition to an increasingly competitive market.”

“All our sensors deliver far greater through-glass and gloved-hand performance than alternative projected capacitive technologies and are supported by our state-of-the-art proprietary electronics and driver software to enhance the industrial user experience,” adds Ian Crosby, Sales and Marketing Director, Zytronic. “This introduction also provides an easy migration path for designers of industrial and medical devices looking to incorporate PCT for the first time, as they move through the prototyping and pilot phases of a product development, prior to mass production. Furthermore our ability to supply these sensors in a 3 flexible polyester film format opens up new and intriguing touch interface design possibilities.