Ocular Display Systems, based in Dallas, announced two advances in the past week. The first was its development of "projected capacitive" touchscreens for device sizes larger than the smartphone market that has driven development thus far. The second was the integration of gesture touch systems within this screen technology. These advances could herald a significantly better user experience for many industrial applications.
Ocular’s Crystal Touch line of projected capacitive touch screens now includes sizes as large as 10.1-in., bringing the extreme clarity and durability of capacitive touch screens to newly emerging device types.
"New devices that are coming into their own right now, like netbooks, will gain a huge boost in the marketplace by differentiating themselves through a compelling user interface. Manufacturers are looking for an interface that will pull the user into their devices, and that’s just what touch screens do," said Phil Spivey, President and chief executive officer of Ocular. "But the critical points are that the touch screen first has to be vibrant and rich so it can make the most of multimedia applications; and second, it has to be durable. If it's susceptible to scratching or contaminants in the air, it's not going to engage users for long. With the large-size Crystal Touch capacitive touch screens manufacturers can incorporate an interface that engages today’s users with the kind of sensory experience they have come to expect."
Projected capacitance screens feature an all-glass construction that has proven to be more durable in applications such as mobile phones than alternate technologies. A resistive touch screen, which is the dominant touch screen technology in use today, features a thin layer of flexible film that can be easily scratched by fingernails or clouded by chemicals in the environment.
Crystal Touch screens are now available in several standard TFT sizes, including 3.5-in., 4.3-in., 5.7-in., 7-in., 10.1-in . and in customized sizes determined by application requirements. Depending on the size and quantity, pricing begins at $22. Volume pricing is available in OEM quantities. Integrated solutions that combine a TFT display with a Crystal Touch screen are also available.
The second announcement adds gesture-based interface to displays for netbooks and other devices.
Crystal Touch screens are capable of typical gesturing functions like slide, swipe, drag, rotate, zoom-in, zoom-out and others. Until now, touch screens with gesturing capabilities have been limited to small screen sizes which were deployed mostly on wireless smartphones such as the Apple iPhone and several media players. In addition, the all-glass Crystal Touch capacitive touch screens are durable enough that constant touching will not scratch or otherwise compromise the optical clarity of the screen.
"Now designers don't have to sacrifice long-term screen clarity and vibrancy for a gesturing touch screen interface. Crystal Touch with gesturing provides both. In addition, it allows current touch screen interfaces to be replaced by the compelling gesture-based interfaces users are demanding today," said Spivey. "This takes on even greater importance as new applications, which incorporate streaming video and other forms of multimedia, become more commonplace. Users are not only demanding a tough, long lasting touch screen that's resistant to scratching, but they want one that gives them the kind of clarity they get from their high-definition televisions. Anything less will be unacceptable."