zForce Touch Screen Technology


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This is the new touch screen technology that is lunched by Neonode lnc.

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zForce Touch Screen Technology

  1. 1. 1 INTRODUCTION Touch Screens are display as well as input devices. These are electronic visual devices that are sensitive to pressure thus detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area. The screens are sensitive to pressure; a user interacts with the computer by touching pictures or words on the screen. The term “Touch” generally refers to touch or contact to the display of the device by a finger or hand. Neonode has patented and commercialized the zForce (an abbreviation for “zero force necessary”) touch technology, which was designed to overcome many of the limitations of today’s touchscreens. The premise of the company’s approach entails the projection of an infrared grid across an electronic display. As users tap, swipe, or write on the screen, zforce detects the location of the touch based on the Interruption in infrared light projecting across the screen, which translates to coordinates on the grid. The zforce architecture and input method is believed to be unique to Neonode. A zforce Touch Screen can be activated by multiple modes of input, including bare fingers, gloves, styluses, and (multiple simultaneous to touches).It is uncommon today to find both pens as well as recognizes multi touch these features innately built into the same touchscreen. This contact sends a signal to the device to recognize the touch. Although relatively low cost, resistive touchscreens do not typically allow multi-touch(swiping, gesturing). About Neonode Inc. : Neonode Inc. is the leading provider of optical touch screen solutions for hand-held and small to midsize devices. Neonode is offering software licenses and engineering design services that enable companies to make high functionality touch screens at a low cost. zForce ® is the name of Neonode’s proprietary patented touch screen technology. Neonode Inc. is listed on the OTCBB under the symbol NEON.OB. Neonode is a trademark and zForce® is a registered trademark of Neonode Inc. zForce® : Neonode’s patented touch solution for portable devices, zForce, is many times more cost effective than any other high performance touch solution in the market today. zForce® supports high resolution pen writing in combination with finger navigation including gestures, multi-touch, sweeps and much more. zForce® doesn’t require an overlay on top of the display window and provide a 100% clear viewing experience. zForce is the only viable touch screen solution that operates on the new revolutionary reflective display panels. zForce® is currently being integrated into a variety of mobile phones, eReaders, automotive applications, mobile internet and tablet devices.
  2. 2. 2 HISTORY Touch screens originally emerged from academic and corporate research labs in the second half of the 1960s. In 1971, the first "touch sensor" was developed by Doctor Sam Hurst (founder of Elographics) while he was an instructor at the University of Kentucky. This sensor was called the "Elograph" and was patented by The University of Kentucky Research Foundation. One of the first places where they gained some visibility was in the terminal of a computer-assisted learning terminal that came out in 1972 as part of the PLATO project. They have subsequently become familiar in kiosk systems, such as in retail and tourist settings, on point of sale systems, on ATMs and on PDAs where a stylus is sometimes used to manipulate the GUI and to enter data. The popularity of smart phones, PDAs, portable game consoles and many types of information appliances is driving the demand for, and the acceptance of, touchscreens. The HP-150 from 1983 can be considered as the world's earliest commercial touch screen computer. It doesn't actually have a touch screen in the strict sense, but a 9" Sony CRT surrounded by infrared transmitters and receivers which detect the position of any nontransparent object on the screen. Until the early 1980s, most consumer touch screens could only sense one point of contact at a time, and few have had the capability to sense how hard one is touching. With commercialization of touchscreens the technology used changed to multipoint technology from dingle point. Historically, the touchscreen sensor and its accompanying controller-based firmware have been made available by a wide array of after-market system integrators and not by display, chip or motherboard manufacturers. With time, however, display manufacturers and chip manufacturers worldwide have acknowledged the trend toward acceptance of touchscreens as a highly desirable 4 user interface component and have begun to integrate touchscreen functionality into the fundamental design of their products.
  3. 3. 3 CAPABILITY The Touch Screens come with a variety of definite advantages over normal/conventional input-output devices. Some of them are :  Easy to use: This provides for a rich user interface experience as this supports for a very intuitive easy to use environment and is facilitated by just a touch.  Saves space: In this world where cost of real estate [i.e., property prices] are sky rocketing intelligent utilization of space is of great importance. Thus touch screens facilitate for this by saving space of keyboard and this finds many application in day today activities.  Speed and Reliability: While laptops do come with a mouse pad and a USB port to allow you to attach an external mouse to your laptop for easier navigation, the amount of time spent to do simple navigations with these devices are extremely slow as compared to simply touching the screen and pointing directly at the option. Having a touchscreen laptop would make navigation extremely faster and more reliable. No need to worry about clicking the wrong option, especially if you are making transactions over the Internet.
  4. 4. 4 COMPONENTS A basic touchscreen has three main components: a touch sensor, a controller, and a software driver. The touchscreen is an input-output device, so it needs to be combined with a display and a PC or other device to make a complete touch input system. TOUCH SENSOR A touch screen sensor is a clear glass panel with a touch responsive surface. The touch sensor/panel is placed over a display screen so that the responsive area of the panel covers the viewable area of the video screen. There are several different touch sensor technologies on the market today, each using a different method to detect touch input. The sensor generally has an electrical current or signal going through it and touching the screen causes a voltage or signal 5 change. This voltage change is used to determine the location of the touch to the screen. CONTROLLER The controller is a small PC card that connects between the touch sensor and the PC. It takes information from the touch sensor and translates it into information that PC can understand. The controller is usually installed inside the monitor for integrated monitors or it is housed in a plastic case for external touch add- ons/overlays. The controller determines what type of interface/connection you will need on the PC. Integrated touch monitors will have an extra cable connection on the back for the touchscreen. Controllers are available that can connect to a Serial/COM port (PC) or to a USB port (PC or Macintosh). Specialized controllers are also available that work with DVD players and other devices. SOFTWARE DRIVER The driver is a software update for the PC system that allows the touchscreen and computer to work together. It tells the computer's operating system how to
  5. 5. 5 interpret the touch event information that is sent from the controller. Most touch screen drivers today are a mouse emulation type driver. This makes touching the screen the same as clicking your mouse at the same location on the screen. This allows the touchscreen to work with existing software and allows new applications to be developed without the need for touchscreen specific programming. Some equipment such as thin client terminals, DVD players, and specialized computer systems either do not use software drivers or they have their own built-in touch screen driver.
  6. 6. 6 TYPES OF TOUCH SCREEN TECHNOLOGIES I. RESISTIVE A resistive touchscreen panel comprises several layers, the most important of which are two thin, transparent electrically-resistive layers separated by a thin space. These layers face each other with a thin gap between. The top screen (the screen that is touched) has a coating on the underside surface of the screen. Just beneath it is a similar resistive layer on top of its substrate. One layer has conductive connections along its sides, the other along top and bottom. A voltage is applied to one layer, and sensed by the other. When an object, such as a fingertip or stylus tip, presses down onto the outer surface, the two layers touch to become connected at that point: The panel then behaves as a pair of voltage dividers, one axis at a time. By rapidly switching between each layer, the position of a pressure on the screen can be read. Resistive touch is used in restaurants, factories and hospitals due to its high resistance to liquids and contaminants. A major benefit of resistive touch technology is its low cost. Additionally, as only sufficient pressure is necessary for the touch to be sensed, they may be used with gloves on, or by using anything rigid as a finger/stylus substitute. Disadvantages include the need to press down, and a risk of damage by sharp objects. Resistive touchscreens also suffer from poorer contrast, due to having additional reflections from the extra layer of material placed over the screen.
  7. 7. 7 II. CAPACITIVE A capacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO). The human body is also an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen’s electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location is then sent to the controller for processing. Unlike a resistive touchscreen, one cannot use a capacitive touchscreen through most types of electrically insulating material, such as gloves. This disadvantage especially affects usability in consumer electronics, such as touch tablet PCs and capacitive smartphones in cold weather. It can be overcome with a special capacitive stylus, or a special-application glove with an embroidered patch of conductive thread passing through it and contacting the user's fingertip. The largest capacitive display manufacturers continue to develop thinner and more accurate touchscreens, with touchscreens for mobile devices now being produced with 'in-cell' technology that eliminates a layer, such as Samsung's Super AMOLED screens, by building the capacitors inside the display itself. A simple parallel plate capacitor has two conductors separated by a dielectric layer. Most of the energy in this system is concentrated directly between the plates. Some of the energy spills over into the area outside the plates, and the electric field lines associated with this effect are called fringing fields. A parallel plate capacitor is not a good choice for such a sensor pattern. Placing a finger near fringing electric fields adds conductive surface area to the capacitive system. The additional charge storage capacity added by the finger is known as finger capacitance, CF.
  8. 8. 8 III. PROJECTED CAPACITANCE Projected Capacitive Touch (PCT; also PCAP) technology is a variant of capacitive touch technology. All PCT touch screens are made up of a matrix of rows and columns of conductive material, layered on sheets of glass. This can be done either by etching a single conductive layer to form a grid pattern of electrodes, or by etching two separate, perpendicular layers of conductive material with parallel lines or tracks to form a grid. Voltage applied to this grid creates a uniform electrostatic field, which can be measured. When a conductive object, such as a finger, comes into contact with a PCT panel, it distorts the local electrostatic field at that point. This is measurable as a change in capacitance. If a finger bridges the gap between two of the "tracks", the charge field is further interrupted and detected by the controller. The capacitance can be changed and measured at every individual point on the grid (intersection). Therefore, this system is able to accurately track touches. Due to the top layer of a PCT being glass, it is a more robust solution than less costly resistive touch technology. Additionally, unlike traditional capacitive touch technology, it is possible for a PCT system to sense a passive stylus or gloved fingers. However, moisture on the surface of the panel, high humidity, or collected dust can interfere with the performance of a PCT system. There are two types of PCT: mutual capacitance and self-capacitance.
  9. 9. 9 IV. INFRARED In this technology infrared (IR) light-emitting diodes(LEDs) are placed at the opposite edges to analyze the system and detect the touch event. The LED and photo sensor pairs create a grid of light beams across the display. An object (such as a finger or pen) that touches the screen interrupts the light beams, causing a measured decrease in light at the corresponding photo sensors. The measured photo sensor outputs can be used to locate a touch-point coordinate. Widespread adoption of infrared touchscreens has been hampered by two factors: the relatively high cost of the technology compared to competing touch technologies and the issue of performance in bright ambient light. This latter problem is a result of background light increasing the noise floor at the optical sensor, sometimes to such a degree that the touchscreen’s LED light cannot be detected at all, causing a temporary failure of the touch screen. However, certain features of infrared touch remain desirable and represent attributes of the ideal touchscreen, including the option to eliminate the glass or plastic overlay that most other touch technologies require in front of the display. In many cases, this overlay is coated with an electrically conducting transparent material such as indium-tin oxide (ITO), which reduces the optical quality of the display. This advantage of optical touchscreens is extremely important for many device and display vendors since devices are often sold on the perceived quality of the user display experience. Another feature of infrared touch which has been long desired is the digital nature of the sensor output when compared to many other touch systems that rely on analog-signal processing to determine a touch position.
  10. 10. 10 V. ZFORCE TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY Neonode overcomes limitations of both resistive and capacitive screens with its zForce® technology creating a next-generation touch surface that the Company believes can be more economical as well as higher performing than either of the main technologies in use today. Currently, projected-capacitance touch screens represent the mainstream technology for multi-touch interfaces. However, zForce® also enables the convenient multi-touch features of capacitive screens but at the cost structure of more affordable resistive technologies. Further, as overviewed on, in February 2012, the Company introduced a new Multi Sense component to the zForce® technology that is intended to improve upon standard multi-touch processes. In contrast to capacitive and resistive screens, which have microscopic circuits embedded on a glass substrate, Neonode’s controller projects a grid of infrared light beams across the display layer. Importantly, the Company’s technology is display agnostic and can be added to variety of display surfaces, including liquid-crystal display (LCD), eink, organic Light emitting diodes (OLED),and electronic paper displays (EPD). Touch is detected as a finger or object interrupts (by obstructing or reflecting) the light beams projected across the screen
  11. 11. 11 surface, which identifies the X and Y coordinates of the touch. As illustrated in Figure 11, there is no glass substrate or glass overlay required. A plastic light guide is located under the bezel on top of the display. It serves to reflect and focus light are shown attached to a around the zForce® display. LEDs and photo diodes printed circuit board (PCB) display. The zForce Technology pulses an infrared light across the screen at a rate of up to 120 times a second so the grid is continuously refreshed. As the user’s fingers move across the screen, the grid’s coordinates where the screen is touched are converted into mathematical algorithms in a process that is unique to Neonode. The newer and higher-cost capacitive technology, such as that used on Apple Inc.’s (AAPL NASDAQ) iPhone, is activated by conductive material rather than applied pressure. Electrodes in the display contact with an electrical conductor, such as a finger. Capacitive devices perform multi touch but cannot be activated by standard pointers or gloves as these are nonconductive.. As a result, many users find that their touchscreen can recognize taps from their fingers but not finger nails. zTouch™ is a Force Based touch screen technology. One of the key advantages of force based touch screen technologies is that as the applied touch force is used for determining the touch coordinates, the touch system will, and must, also accurately know the magnitude of the user's touch at any given moment of time. The touch system output is therefore based on 3-variables; x- and y- coordinates and the "z-coordinate" (force level). Many companies and organizations have explored the concept of force-based touch screen technologies over the last 30+ years, but few have been able to bring the theoretical concepts or laboratory prototypes into working commercial products. Where others have failed, F-Origin has succeeded.
  12. 12. 12 F-Origin's earliest implementation was a 4" touch panel for a GSM Smartphone. This phone was in many ways ahead of its time, featuring motion and touch control and a Java based OS, but was unfortunately only produced in a few thousand units. F-Origin has since further developed the zTouch™ touch screen product to allow for a broad range of product applications, such as POS and POI monitors, oversized touch monitors, indoor & outdoor kiosks, refrigerator and oven control panels, bezel and bezel-less designs and much more. F-Origin's zTouch touch screen technology is built on three competence areas; mechanical design, sensor technology, and software / algorithms. To ensure high accuracy, the force sensor must be extremely precise, linear and sensitive. F- Origin has jointly developed a piezo-resistive force sensor that meets these requirements. While the FFS force sensor capture the data and the mechanical design ensures an optimal transfer of the touch force from the touch media (touch screen, touch panel) to the force sensors, it is the zTouch™ software and underlying mathematical algorithms that ensures performance and accurate coordinate calculation in the system. The firmware of the default zTouch™ implementation runs on STM32F101 and STM32F103 family of ST Micro MCUs, however, other MCUs can be supported.
  13. 13. 13 The main tasks of the zTouch™ firmware are to record & filter the sensor data, optimize, compensate & calculate the touch coordinates, and to communicate the touch coordinates. Technology Diagram The zTouch™ architecture is highly flexible and supports touch systems using at least one (1), and up to eight (8) force sensors. The functional modules of the firmware includes data filtering and data correction, initial coordinate calculation, zero moment calculation and auto calibration, motion compensation, touch threshold determination and data export. Additional support functions, such as the initialization function allows for certain values and thresholds to be set or manipulated by user, or even the applications. For example the required force levels for a touch or a click. Specific end-user calibration module is currently not supported as a standard configuration, although it can be if requested.
  14. 14. 14 FEATURES OF zFORCE TOUCHSCREEN  Support for any type of touch: User input is recorded independent of what the user is touching the screen with, e.g., finger with or without glove, pen, stylus, credit card etc.  Durability: Touch surface/lens is as durable as the system/application requires. No membrane to wear so routine cleaning procedures and materials can be used without concern.  Environmental robustness: Moisture/dust resistance as well as the ability to filter out and ignore weather and contaminants is another benefit of the design and positive impact to no membrane layer or bezel-based optics and electronics. Bezel or Bezel-less designs are available.  Optical Performance: Optical performance is enhanced compared to typical surface-based touch systems because there is no surface membrane to restrict light transmission. Better clarity and light throughput enhances viewing experience as well as potentially reducing backlighting thereby saving system energy usage as well.  Configurable force sensitivity levels: With most of the system’s intelligence resident in the software, it is simple to adjust force levels (sensitivity) for different users or applications. This is useful in setting the minimum pressure necessary to register a particular touch, gesture, or key press. For example, a light touch may highlight or select a key, while a harder press could be required to record the key press.  Lens or touch surface design freedom: As long as the lens/touch surface is rigid, any material may be selected. The shape of the surface could also be non-rectangular and it may even have 3-dimensional features or topography such as raised or lowered areas for key orientation effects or Braille character support.  Gesture Support: The zTouch™ touch screen will register single points, such as key presses, as well as line drawings and gestures, making this solution optimal for gesture inputs, drawing, and handwriting recognition applications.  Affordable: The zTouch™ technology is also very cost effective/competitive, especially for larger volumes, as the cost for unique components and sensors is comparatively low.
  15. 15. 15 WORKING PRINCIPLE OF ZFORCE Infrared touch screen is a touch frame which is usually installed in front of the display screen. The frame is integrated with printed circuit board which contains a line of IR-LEDs and photo transistors hidden behind the bezel of the touch frame. Each of IR-LEDs and photo transistors is set on the opposite sides to create a grid of invisible infrared light. The bezel shields the parts from the operation environment while allowing the IR beams to pass through. The infrared Touch Screen controller sequentially pulses less to create a grid of IR light beams. When a user touches the screen ,enters the grid by a stylus which can interrupt the IR light beams, the photo transistors from x and Y axes detect the IR light beams which have been interrupted and transmit exact signals that identify the X and Y axes coordinates to the host. An array of infrared LEDs are used to track where fingers on the screen are the drawback of this kind of technology is that a raised bezel is places around the screen. This raised bezel houses an array of infrared LEDs and sensors. The new technology has already been licensed to companies to use this technology. The swips company has noted that power consumption is as low as 1mw at 100hz. battery life of tablets devices will benefit from such a new type of touch screen. ims response times are quite possible with this new technology and there is little to no lag.
  16. 16. 16 ADVANTAGES  Long service life  Long battery life  Can be scaled to any size without losing resolution  scratch, breakage, and liquid resistance  Touch can be activated by anything including finger, gloved hand, or stylus.  Avoid accidental touch
  17. 17. 17 CONCLUSION The possibilities are numerous and can be explored further in this technology that is conceived and promoted by the company Neonode. Implementation of this technology into practical use would be worth for economic making touchscreen scratch and liquid resistance and we will proceed towards a better, faster technology. The concept of zForce technology is currently attracting a great deal of interest, not least because it may offer a genuine and very efficient alternative to other traditional outdated touchscreens.
  18. 18. 18 REFERENCES  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonode  http://www.neonode.com/zforce/  www.ijcsmc.com/docs/papers/September2013/V2I9201321.pdf  www.prezi.com/wo2m0a9ne9n9/zforce-touch-screen  www.neonode.com  En.wikipedia.org/wiki/neonode  www.engadget.com/tag/neonode