Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What is the future of Touchscreen Technology?

In 1967 E.A Johnson invented the first capacitive touchscreen console and over the last 50 years, the technology has evolved to become the primary interface on most devices, most notably PCAP touch technology that is used on our smartphones. But where does the human interface go from here?
Today we can perform numerous tasks on our smartphone from online banking, checking our health and even changing the temperature in our home whilst several thousand miles away. However, the biggest issue and most difficult thing we can’t do productively on our smartphone would be writing. Any letter, in-depth composition or data entry develops into a nightmare of clumsily pecking at the virtual keys. Typing this way is unnatural and the touchscreen has a long way to go to enable life improving efficiency.

The key to fluent typing consists of 3 elements, touch input, orientation and confirmation - a traditional keyboard has all three to satisfy these criteria. Touchscreens allow you to input information but they do not give you a sense of confirmation or direct your finger by the physicality of the keys. Missing these elements makes it difficult to get into any creative flow but two new technologies are now emerging.

Haptics, which is a means of simulating touch sensations by creating a vibration that activates sensors in your fingertips to notify your brain, once you have pressed a button and secondly Microfluidics, this technology creates dynamic transparent tactile surfaces by pushing a solution through a material to define keyboard formations that can rise and recede thereby giving a physicality of the keys. The addition of these two technologies provides the orientation and confirmation needed to enable full typing productivity.

We are already seeing mobile devices use Haptic and Microfluidics in defined positions. The next generation will allow the user to program a combination of these technologies, keyboards could be adjusted in size and location and provide haptic feedback in any position and the microfluidics technology used to create a personalized keyboard for each user. For example changing the size of the icon to relate to their finger size and typing style. Moving further forward we will see haptics and microfluidics evolve together to include tactility and vibrations for more than just keyboards and buttons. Mapping and navigation are examples where you could see the varying contours with the haptic giving various feedback on what you are doing by increasing the length and strength of the vibration. Users who are visually impaired could choose a braille option when manoeuvring around their touchscreen device or when writing without having to purchase a separate product.

From the minute we are born a connection through touch is acquired, this connection with each other spreads to our personalized technology and current developments will soon enable touchscreens to react in the same way by responding to every individual’s personal touch.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Save time and money with SCHURTER's tailor made solutions

The competition from the Far East does not sleep. Through numerous distributors, it offers a range of cost-effective standard touch panels. The ease of a standard item and low cost are attractive, but is this right option for an industrial or medical machine application?
Input systems for industrial and medical machines are often subject of an extended lifecycle expectancy, the service life of these products could be 10 to 15 years. A touch panel for these would consist of a selection of components such as touch sensor, display, controller and electronics. The majority of these components are subject to rapid technical advancements, for the displays this is 2 to 3 years. But the touch sensors and the corresponding controllers also change very quickly due to technological advancements.

In a standard touch panel, this will mean every few years the item will be discontinued and a new item will replace it. What does this mean for the machine manufacturer? It will be down to the machine manufacturer to check the new items compatibility, as the panel could have changed size, controller software, cable positions etc. For a machine manufacturer, this will mean valuable engineering time will be required every few years to check compatibility, to re-validate the panel or ever to re-certify. How much will all of this “extra” work cost over the lifetime of a machine?   

SCHURTER offers its customers complete solutions. This means we assume responsibility for the whole input system. We are also responsible for the availability of the products and components throughout the entire cycle. SCHURTER guarantees a product with full compatibility, form and function throughout the entire service life. During the development phase, customers are made aware of the complexity of the product design with the relevant parameters. Aspects such as the availability of components and long-term availability, exchange possibilities and qualification also play an important role in product design. These aspects are often forgotten and/or pushed to the side for cost reasons.

The longer the lifecycle of the product, the more important it is to have an experienced system provider who can optimally advise the customer on the choice of the individual components. A system supplier with the appropriate competencies and manufacturing facilities can also significantly reduce the time required to develop a product. This gives the customer peace of mind that their product is in the right hands.  

If you’re looking into an HMI/touchscreen solution for an industrial or medical machine with the lowest cost to you over the lifetime of your product then look no further than SCHURTER 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why a High Quality Prototype can make a Huge Difference

A prototype is paramount when it comes to product development. This is true in any industry and any company that plans to start a line of production. The customer wants to receive the highest quality product and service, this is why the prototype is key. The prototype is the chance to prove and showcase that you can produce the highest quality product.

The process of creating a prototype comes with great benefits, not only does it produce a physical example of how the product will look and feel but It can also iron out any design issues and improve functions along the duration. Pre-production will be able to produce a highly accurate assessment of the time and cost involved in the production, this then means manufacturing costs can be reduced by resolving any problems which were underlined in pre-production.  

Remember the prototype model is the company’s reputation don't chance it by saving money it can take a long time to build up a corporate reputation and a short time to knock it down if you don't meet the expectations of your customer or potential customer. So it’s then very important that you make sure the prototype is the highest quality. The customer needs to see the end product that will be close to how it will appear in production. 

SCHURTER’s high-end equipment and in-house touchscreen sensor production ensure rapid prototyping that significantly reduces the time-to-market of your product. To further reduce the development time. Although still producing a high-quality prototype that meets all the customers’ requirements. If you need a prototype then contact us at SCHURTER.