Check­list for choos­ing a touch­screen

Electronics For You - - Embedded -

Con­sid­er­ing the fol­low­ing fac­tors and com­par­ing them with the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of the key tech­nolo­gies, one will have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what tech­nol­ogy to choose: Size. De­cide the size re­quired by your ap­pli­ca­tion. Ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Eval­u­ate the type of func­tion­al­ity needed. In­put method. Would it be a fin­ger, sty­lus or glove? Num­ber of points. De­cide whether you want a sur­face with sin­gle-touch, dual-touch or multi-touch with X num­ber of touch points. En­vi­ron­ment. As­cer­tain the con­di­tions that the sur­face will be sub­jected to. Dura­bil­ity. Know the ex­pected life cy­cle of the de­vice. Com­plex­ity. Eval­u­ate whether the need is for a stan­dard prod­uct or cus­tom de­signed one. Reg­u­la­tory re­stric­tions. Are there any in­dus­try reg­u­la­tions that a de­signer needs to con­sider? Avail­abil­ity. As­cer­tain avail­abil­ity of re­place­ment com­po­nents should a com­po­nent fail. Cost. Work out the bud­get for adding touch to the prod­uct de­sign. For more, re­fer to the white pa­per ‘Choos­ing the Right Touch Tech­nol­ogy,’ which serves as a great ref­er­ence to un­der­stand­ing the strengths and lim­i­ta­tions of each tech­nol­ogy.

—Jamie D. Sewell, public re­la­tions & com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager, Touch In­ter­na­tional greasy fin­gers, ca­pac­i­tive or IR type of touch tech­nol­ogy is a bet­ter op­tion, es­pe­cially if the screen size is large.”

You should also know the ap­pli­ca­tion area of your de­vice. Some peo­ple may want bet­ter op­ti­cal clar­ity, some may want a ro­bust screen, while some may want a low-cost screen. So there is no such thing as the best tech­nol­ogy. The se­lec­tion mainly de­pends on the use.

“Like, for large-for­mat dis­plays multi-touch ca­pac­i­tive has not evolved much, but on small for­mat multi-touch can be seen on most touch­screen phones. So the use of a spe­cific touch­screeen tech­nol­ogy is re­ally where its ap­pli­ca­tion is,” adds Ta­paria.

Key chal­lenges

“One of the rea­sons for so many touch tech­nolo­gies is that there is no per­fect so­lu­tion,” says Sewell. She enu­mer­ates a few chal­lenges that de­sign engineers might face while work­ing on some of these op­tions: “Pro­jected-ca­pac­i­tive tech­nol­ogy can be dif­fi­cult to in­te­grate, so it is im­por­tant to have an ex­pe­ri­enced team avail­able dur­ing the in­te­gra­tion process. This tech­nol­ogy can be sen­si­tive to noise and elec­tro­mag­netic in­ter­fer­ence (EMI) and can also emit EMI. It is im­por­tant to be aware of this when de­sign­ing your prod­uct. You may need to in­clude an EMI fil­ter, mesh or gasket into the touch­screen de­pend­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion.”

Re­sis­tive touch­screens face the prob­lems of low op­tics and a shorter life­span. IR and op­ti­cal sys­tems have is­sues with oc­clu­sion and sun­light in­ter­fer­ence. It is there­fore im­por­tant to think about the en­vi­ron­ment in which the touch­screen will be used, to choose the right tech­nol­ogy for the ap­pli­ca­tion.

While the touch­screen tech­nolo­gies may have ma­tured at the hard­ware per­for­mance level, in terms of user ex­pe­ri­ence a lot of work still needs to be done.

Ta­pa­dia ob­serves, “In any touch­screen so­lu­tion the crit­i­cal as­pect to work on is the com­bi­na­tion of ex­pe­ri­ence that’s de­liv­ered via the touch in­ter­face. If you have a touch­screen that sup­ports 40 touch points, an ap­pli­ca­tion that ex­ploits these touch points is needed. How­ever, what has been hap­pen­ing tra­di­tion­ally

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