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issue: January 2007 APPLIANCE European Edition

Control Panels and Displays
Application Spotlight


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APPLIANCE Staff Feature

Easy Listening

Wanting users to be able to quickly browse through their music downloads, the MiniPlayer media device from Meizu Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. (Guangdong, China) features QSlide™ capacitive touch technology from UK-based Quantum Research Group.
Targeted primarily at portable applications, the technology is based on the QT411 chip. Known as a “slider” chip, the device uses Quantum’s patented Charge-Transfer sensing method to sense along a line or arc, providing a linear touch sensing output to a resolution of one part in 128.
The technology uses a simple resistive element as the capacitive sensor and can reportedly penetrate 3 mm of plastic or glass. The output is a SPI serial interface. Data output can be interpreted as either a linear control, or as a series of buttons or a mixture of the two, depending on the needs of the designer. To create buttons from a slider, designers simply need to interpret number sub-ranges as being buttons. As many as eight buttons are possible.
The QT411 can also be used with clear Indium-Tin-Oxide (ITO) sensing elements to create LED-backlit touch zones for a more dramatic effect, or to show position after the touch is released. In addition, this allows the device to be used as a touch-screen strip over an LCD display panel, which the supplier says creates a more affordable, yet durable option compared to resistive screens or in many cases, mechanical bezel buttons.

Remote Simplicity

The Kameleon III range of universal remote controls from One For All (Enschede, The Netherlands) is said to offer some of the world’s slimmest battery-operated universal remote controls. The new product range comprises three models that can operate five, eight or 11 devices within the home, ranging from a DVD player to home lighting.
The ultra-slim devices feature flexible touch-screen displays that are designed to convey complex information clearly using nested menus that guide the user through their interaction with a product, only displaying the relevant detail at each stage of the process. This removes much of the confusion and complication associated with multi-function remote controls.
The remote controls are based on display and driver technology from Cardiff, UK-based Pelikon. Incorporating printed segmented electroluminescence (pSEL™) technology, the supplier’s pSEL Intuitive Touch Displays use electroluminescent phosphors that are screen printed on flexible PET substrate, using thick film technology with various capacitive, insulation and conducting layers that create iconic and segmented lit areas. This is said to create thin flexible display interfaces that can fit any size and shape; surfaces can even be curved.
One for All also utilized Pelikon’s driver electronics, which were developed to optimize the performance of the displays, enhancing appearance and increasing product longevity.

Interfacing with the Consumer

Getting User Friendly Faster

 

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