Touch technology

3M Touch Systems has unveiled a new touch technology that it claims will change the landscape of the touch screen business.

The new technology, known as Dispersive Signal Technology, which was developed as a result of co-operative research between the company and UK-based NXT, is being shown this week at the Society for Information Display (SID) conference in Seattle, Washington.

Dispersive Signal Technology offers a fundamentally different approach to touch. Unlike other solutions that recognise touch by the interruption of electrical fields, acoustic waves, or infrared light, Dispersive Signal Technology recognises touch through vibrations made to the substrate.

Sensors in each corner of a screen measure the vibrational energy and, through advanced digital signal processing, dispersion adjustment algorithms are applied to analyse the signals and report an accurate touch.

This approach helps eliminate issues with screen contaminants and surface scratches, while offering enhanced palm rejection. This enhanced feature allows for a touch to be registered while a palm and/or object is resting on the screen’s surface. For example, a finger, gloved hand or stylus can initiate a touch while a person’s palm and drink are on the surface. The touch creates a vibration, which radiates a bending wave through the substrate from the point of contact spreading out to the edges – the other resting items are ignored.

3M researchers say that the Dispersive Signal Technology incorporates the primary features offered by several touch technologies today – exceptional light transmission, stylus support, accuracy, signature capture and all-glass durability. Additionally, it sports many new capabilities like enhanced palm rejection, auto configuration and the ability to accommodate requests for various display sizes, such as 30- and 40-inch.

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