08.02.10

Touching the 3rd dimension

AUTHOR: Inavate

A touch technology that can detect force is set to hit the commercial marketplace following agreements with Samsung and Japan’s Nissha Printing. Under the recent agreements the technology, developed by UK based Peratech, is set to hit the mobile phone and portable electronics market. However, Peratech is “actively investigating” the market for larger touch screens and has mooted multiple applications.

Nissha, manufacturer of touch screen technology, signed a $1.4 million (€1 million) licensing agreement to use Peratech’s Quantum Tunnelling Composites (QTC) to create next generation touch screens with 3D input for mobile phones and portable electronic devices. The licensing agreement gives Nissha exclusive worldwide rights to use the technology for screens smaller than 3.5 by 5.5 inches for an initial period of one year.

Philip Taysom, joint CEO of Peratech, said, “This is Peratech’s first million dollar licensing agreement and is a huge testament to the power and potential of QTC technology by one of the world’s leading manufacturers of touch screens for mobile phones and gaming consoles. QTC is also ideal for creating solutions for larger touch screens and we are actively investigating this market.”

QTC’s properties enable it to be made into force sensitive switches of any shape or size. QTC switches and switch matrices can be screen printed allowing for development and integration of switches that are as thin as 75 microns. The technology is also low power and interfaces can be designed with no start resistance so that without pressure, the switch draws no power and passes no current. When pressure is applied, the resistance drops in proportion to the amount of pressure which allows sophisticated human machine interface designs that react to variations in pressure.

Following the agreement with Nissha, Peratech also announced a collaboration with Samsung Electro-mechanics (EM), which will see QTC technology included within a new range of pressure sensing components.

Dr. Ho-Chul Joung, principal manager at Samsung EM, described QTC switches as a “game changing” technology.

“This three-dimensionality cannot be matched with existing resistive and capacitive technologies and means that the next generation of mobile phones will have many new and exciting features because of it,” he said.

For more information on the science behind QTC head to the Peratech website