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Monthly Technology Feature - Capacitive touch screen displays

Each month we take a look at a particular aspect of a product or technology. This month it's Sharp and their capacitive touch screen displays.

THE SHARP SOLUTION

Sharp's interactive display solutions allow for effortless collaboration, communication and sharing. Their easy-to-use and highly responsive touch performance ensures that users are confident and can focus on their primary task. The beautifully developed applications tools are brilliant for any environment and ensure seamless integration with existing software and hardware. SHARP’s Touch Display Link enables multifaceted wireless communication and collaboration with all mobile smart devices as well as remote locations.

Designed with schools and higher education campuses, as well as corporate office environments in mind – the Sharp solutions make lessons more engaging, whilst in the office meeting room the BIG PAD is a brilliant communication platform for releasing creativity, promoting powerful team collaboration and getting effective decisions made. With a large range of display sizes all having FHD resolution, the BIG PAD is a great example of how Sharp is transforming the way organisations engage with information through connected technologies.

Comprising of a display, Sharp's own developed touchscreen technology, firmware, driver software and whiteboard applications, as well as pens – stylus and eraser – Sharp has developed each part of the solution component chain. This really frees up the user to focus on teaching or interacting with colleagues and not having to worry about the technology – it simply works.

Whether in the boardroom or the classroom, Sharp changes the way you teach, collaborate and communicate.

P-CAP Capacitive Touch

Touchscreens are everywhere these days. Tablets, phones, ticket machines, cash dispensers – they’ve all benefited. But, applying touchscreen technology to large screens is rather more difficult. Here’s why, and how Sharp solved the problem with their flagship 80” BIG PAD Pro interactive whiteboard solution.

How Ordinary Touch Screens Work

The easiest way to make a capacitive touch screen is to coat one side of the screen with a transparent conductive layer, such as indium tin oxide. A small voltage is applied to the four corners of the screen and this creates a uniform electric field. When a human finger touches the other side of the glass the device’s controller can determine the location of the touch from the change in the capacitance as measured from the change in voltage in the four corners of the panel.

The limitations of standard capacitive touch screens

Standard touch screens are fine for small screens and simple applications, which only need one touch at a time. Multi-touch is not possible with conventional capacitive touch technology and there can be problems with false touch activations, due to unexpected signals from environmental electrical changes. The usual touch technology for a large format display is based on infrared (IR) which can have touch latency issues.

Understanding P-CAP Touch

With Projected Capacitive Touch (also known as PCT or PCAP), conductive wires are layered in rows and columns on two parallel sheets of glass; essentially a grid pattern of fine wires is created and voltage is then applied sequentially to the rows and columns. Wherever the screen is touched by a finger the controller identifies the change in capacitance in the grid of wires. PCT screens can recognise multiple touch points. However, ‘noise’ and unintended touch inputs can still be a problem.

80" PN-80TC3 - Breaking New Ground

The PN-80TC3 professional-class interactive whiteboard enhances the Projected Capacitive Touch technology with an advanced controller and faster sampling techniques. The controller employs a unique algorithm which through increased sampling speeds of 220Hz and stronger signal creation reduces the amount of noise right down to 1/8 of that which would otherwise be expected. Touch accuracy is improved, unintended and false inputs are almost completely eliminated, and latency (time lag) is virtually eliminated.

The user experience

BIG PAD’s touchscreen can recognise up to ten simultaneous touches with pinpoint accuracy and as many as four people can use it at the same time. The Sharp Pen software also utilises unique technology, which allows pen pressure to influence the visible result. The speed and accuracy of the touch input using this approach results in a natural and fluid writing experience, which along with pressure sensitivity feels almost identical to writing on an old-style whiteboard with marker pens.


SHARP Display Connect

SHARP Display Connect supports effective and multifaceted communication. Onscreen content—including handwritten notes and drawings made in real time—can be viewed simultaneously on the BIG PAD and mobile devices such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The software facilitates interactive presentations, lively discussions, and paperless meetings in both business and educational settings.

Files can be exchanged between mobile devices even if they are not connected to the BIG PAD. Users can capture onscreen images and save them on their mobile devices to make personally annotated memos (personal memo). SHARP Display Connect also connects two BIG PAD on the same network (intranet, VPN, etc.) to enable larger-scale interactive communications.

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