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Zytronic Supplies 72-Inch Touch Sensors for Street Based Public Information Display Units

Surtronic utilizes PCT’s operational advantages in order to provide shoppers with way-finding, promotions & entertainment

Both the overall robustness and high degree of scalability afforded by Zytronic’s patented Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™) are underlined in its latest outdoor touchscreen project. The company’s ZYBRID® touch sensors have, via Dutch distributor Telerex, been selected by Surtronic for integration into a public information/digital signage unit that it has developed and is now starting to deploy in busy retail areas across Europe.

Packed with features and functionality, as well as having a stylish design, these touch-enabled display units act like super-sized tablet computers. They have an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) which employs swipe, flick and pinch gestures to access and navigate through an array of menus to find desired information or even upload user content, such as pictures and comments. Visitors to retail areas can get directions from their current position to various shops and other amenities in the vicinity. To encourage interaction, the units have built-in cameras that allow users to take pictures and post them on the shopping mall’s Facebook page or send digital postcards to their friends. Users can also access the discount shopping finder feature - where the latest special offers available in the area are shown. In addition, they may enter into competitions and play games through which prizes can be won. Following an initial deployment at the Koopgoot Shopping Centre, in Rotterdam, Surtronic is now planning to install these units in retail areas across Europe, as well as in transportation hubs, such as train stations, were they will provide interactive travel information and timetables.

Surtronic specified that the 72-inch touch sensor used in the display was capable of operating through an 8mm thick tempered glass protective overlay, making it resistant to vandalism. It is the rugged construction and ability to reliably detect touches through such thick glass that differentiates Zytronic’s PCT touch sensors from other touch sensing solutions on the market and makes them highly suitable for this type of unattended public use. The proprietary Zytronic technology utilizes a matrix of micro-fine copper capacitors (that at just 10µm in diameter are effectively invisible on a powered display). This capacitor array is embedded into a laminated glass substrate, which can itself be placed behind further protective glass or polycarbonate overlays - so that the display is safeguarded from many different forms of damage and mechanical stress (including impacts, scratches, shocks, vibrations, etc.). Furthermore, the projected capacitive sensing technology used is unaffected by liquid, dust and dirt on the surface and will work with gloved hands – all making it the optimal solution for Surtronic.

“Important factors that needed to be addressed with these units were ensuring superior interactivity and fast response times, while still being able to cope with the rigors of an outdoor environment,” Arie van Dijke, Sales Manager at Surtronic, comments. “The resistance of Zytronic’s sensors to various forms of wear and tear, as well as the strong touch performance characteristics they exhibited, made them our first choice.”

“For such unattended self-service applications, specifying a touch sensor capable of reliably operating 24/7 is critical. Otherwise user experience will be poor and the associated maintenance cost could be crippling,” states Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director at Zytronic. “For more than a decade, PCT has proven itself to be a long-lasting touch solution that can handle the most demanding environments.”