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Optical Touch for GPS Navigation Devices Promises Significant Improvements

Testing one of the new touch screen Sony Readers for a review it occurred that the new and very responsive optical touch screen would make and excellent touch screen technology for GPS navigation devices. The Sony Reader product line for 2010 uses Neonode´s optical touch screen technology that has been customized for Sony. Neonode calls its optical touch technology zForce. A quick look at the optical touch technology features quickly brings to light that Neonode’s technology combines some of the best features of both resistive and capacitive touch technologies at significantly less expense (65% less than capacitive touch).

touch screen technology for GPS navigation devices

Neonode´s Optical Touch Screen Technology
Notable features of Neonode’s optical touch screen technology include; high resolution (equates to greater accuracy), fast gesture capture, no display overlay required (no obscuring of display as pressure touch is notorious for), multi touch capability, zooming (finger pinch) sensing, sweeps, stylus support (greater accuracy again), excellent durability, minimal form factor for simpler integration and finally proximity sensing (you don’t actually have to touch the screen – just get really close).

How Neonode´s Optical Touch Screen Technology Works
zForce uses a small frame around the display with LEDs and photoreceptors on opposite sides hidden behind a infrared-transparent bezel. Sequential pulsing of the LEDs creates a grid of infrared light beams across the display. When an object (eg. finger) obstructs one or more of the beams the X and Y coordinates and contact area information are captured. Interpolation combined with analogue signal processing give multiple touch readings and high speed gesture feedback.

Features which make Neonode’s zForce technology suitable for GPS navigation devices include:

Durability – against heat, cold, sunlite and moisture
Object Sensitivity – touch sensitive to anything that touches the screen including gloves, fingernails or a stylus. It does not require skin contact or inductive or capacitive pen as with a capacitive touch display. Ability to use a stylus provides much greater pointing accuracy and can provide a capability for such activities as writing a note or address on the display for future reference and even map notations. Combined with optical character recognition this could be even more useful.
Low Power Consumption – which translates to longer battery life or a smaller battery requirement for the manufacturer.
Proximity Sensing – which is an attribute which comes from the fact that the infra-red beams across the face of the display have depth and it is possible to (carefully) trigger them without actually touching the display.
No Display Overlay Required – Neonode’s Touch Technology does not require any overlay of the display (100% transparency) leaving the display brighter and colors unaffected. (something that works against pressure based touch technologies)
Multi-touch Sensitivity – allows gestures such a pinch/zooming and double finger drags to be used.

Categories: GPS Technology

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