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19 August, 2019

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Hybrid system integrates mechanical and touch controls

29 January, 2019

A UK specialist in touch sensors has developed a technology that integrates touch and physical controls. Newcastle-based Zytronic’s hybrid touch technology allows tactile buttons or mechanical dials to be incorporated in and around the active area of a projected capacitive touchscreen and to be connected invisibly through the viewable area of the screen. It claims that this is the first time that these two technologies have been integrated in this way.

“Touch sensors offer enormous flexibility and reliability – but physical controls offer much greater tactile feedback which can be valuable in many situations,” points out Zytronic’s sales and marketing director, Ian Crosby. “We’ve brought these two different forms of control together, blending tactile response with touch interactivity. For example, industrial instruments are often operated with the user looking away from the screen. Hybrid touch gives system developers the best of both worlds.”

Zytronic designs and manufactures the touch sensors with precisely machined apertures, allowing dials or switches to be placed exactly where they are needed. It then deposits power and data lines to the mechanical controls embedded in the touch interface in the same way that it deposits the touch electrodes, ensuring that they are invisible to the user. These microfine traces are taken to the edge of the screen, where they can be connected to an electromechanical controller. The system’s response to the mechanical control can be context-sensitive, giving a high degree of flexibility in the design of the user interface.

Sensor electrodes in the screen are deposited around the physical holes for the dials or switches. Touches around the holes are processed by the touch controller in the usual way, but custom firmware in the controller can be programmed to ignore the area of the holes themselves.

Zytronic claims that its combined touchscreen and mechanical controls technology is the first of its type

Hybrid Touch is available for Zytronic’s ZXY500 family of touch controllers.




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