Capacitive touch

A simple touch or swipe

Touch-sensitive user interfaces have seen an enormous emergence in the last decade, no doubt influenced by the popularity of tablets and smartphones that use the same principle. A mere touch or swipe of the finger on the control panel is translated into an action, offering an intuitive user experience and making the technology fit for a wide range of applications in every sector and domain. The translucent panels offer a nearly limitless number of possibilities for backlighting, design and branding.

How it works

Capacitive sensing technology is based upon the constant monitoring of the electrical capacity of the touch area, which is changed by a human finger. As the human body is an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen’s electrostatic field. Depending on the location of the touch and the movement that is detected (swiping, tapping), a specific action will be triggered.

Intuitive user interaction

The popularity of capacitive touch screens for a wide range of applications, from home appliances to industrial machines, is still on the rise. The reason for their popularity is obvious. Not only do they offer a very intuitive and pleasant user experience, they are also very familiar to users of mobile phones, tables, tv-sets and laptops. There is also an important aesthetic aspect. The translucent panels offer a nearly limitless number of possibilities for backlighting, design and branding. Black panel effects have made the user interfaces – often a thorn in the eye of designers – almost invisible when they are not being used.

Endless design possibilities

When people think of touch screens today, they typically think of flat surfaces with backlighting indicating where the keys or touchpoints are. Through rapid advancements in printed electronics, they are transformed into truly smart surfaces, offering a wide range of new design and functional possibilities. There is simply no reason why a touch screen should still be flat – it can take on any shape, from curved surfaces to 3D shapes. Wireless communication technologies are easily added, creating many new functionalities.

Typical applications

  • Home appliances
  • Automotive interiors
  • Vending machines
  • Wellness (whirlpools, saunas)
  • Medical devices
  • Communication and navigation devices
  • Light switches

A fully customized solution

Capacitive sensors

  • Capacitive keys, sliders and wheels

  • Screen-printed on flexible films or directly on cover glass

  • Applied on flat, curved and 3D surfaces

  • Touch, proximity and gesture functionalities

Cover materials

  • Chemically or thermally tempered glass

  • Surface treated PMMA / Acrylic and polycarbonate

  • Leather, wood and many other surface materials

Controllers

  • Freedom to use your preferred touch controller

  • Quad Industries is Microchip Design partner

  • I²C, SPI, UART or digital I/O

Backlighting and haptics

  • Transparent conductor printing allows for smooth backlighting

  • Black panel effects allow for secret until lit functionality

  • Combination with haptics adds feedback properties

Get inspired