Touch Sensor & Smart Surface Solutions

Since the invention of the first finger driven touch screen in 1965 the touch screen has evolved from an expensive novelty to the expected means of interfacing humans and machines. Stylus driven resistive touch panels for launching apps and inputting data today seem ancient when compared to the high-resolution multi-touch projective capacitive interfaces that have become commonplace in even the simplest smartphones.

Next generation must not just achieve the next level of performance but also more easily integrate into an increasingly diverse range of user environments. It is no longer enough to have combine mechanical switches and touch panels to create the "human-machine-interface". Touch buttons, sliders and traditional X-Y touch panels must be seemlessly integrated into devices, vehicles, equipment and more. And, they must incorporate more functionality in less space in a way that is more easily accessible and ergonomically friendly.

Achieving this level of adaptability will require manufacturing techniques and materials that are more versatile than ever before. The transparent conductive films that have played a key role in touch technology for so long must now be more than just transparent and conductive.

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They must be flexible, formable and/or moldable and easily manufactured using lower cost methods like screen printing. And, they must perform better than traditional materials like ITO. This is where new material solutions like CHASM's AgeNT Hybrid TCF platform excel.

Representative Solution

The maker of a specialized wearable electronic device with multiple touch buttons bonded to a soda-glass lens was faced with the following challenges:

  • Physical product design limited by flat lens

  • Modest production volumes resulted in high cost for ITO deposition and patterning

  • Modest production volumes resulted in long lead times for delivery

  • Expensive and time consuming to validate design changes

The solution provided by CHASM involved screen printing a patterned layer of 75 ohm/square AgeNT-75 transparent conductive film which was bonded to a polycarbonate lens. 

The benefits:

  • Enabled a new design with a dome-shaped thermoformed lens

  • Quick turnaround on circuit design changes and prototypes (weeks versus months)

  • Just-in-time production runs

  • Lower design cost AND lower unit cost