Writing for SemiWiki, Don Dingee says the full potential for smaller, curved displays “jumps out” in the context of wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to Dingee, flexible displays present a challenge well beyond the simplistic knobs-and-sliders, or even the science of multi-touch that allows swiping and other gestures. Indeed, abandoning the relative ease of planar coordinates implies not only smarter touch sensors, but sophisticated algorithms that can handle the challenges of projecting capacitance into curved space.
“Atmel fully appreciates the magnitude of this revolution, and through a combination of serendipity and good planning is in the right place at the right time to make curved touchscreens for wearables and the IoT happen,” he explains.
“With CES becoming an almost-auto show, it was the logical place to showcase the AvantCar proof of concept, illustrating just what curves can do for touch-enabled displays in consumer design.”
As Dignee notes, the metal mesh technology in XSense – “fine line metal” or FLM – means the touch sensor is fabricated on a flexible PET film, as it is capable of conforming to flat or reasonably curved displays up to 12 inches.
“XSense uses mutual capacitance, with electrodes in an orthogonal matrix, really an array of small touchscreens within a larger display,” he continues.
“This removes ambiguity in the reported multiple touch coordinates by reporting points independently, and coincidentally enables better handling of polar coordinates following the curve of a display using Atmel’s maxTouch micro controllers (MCUs).”
Dingee also asks his reader to imagine Atmel’s XSense concept outside of a next-gen vehicle, extending to a myriad of IoT and wearable devices.
“Gone are the clunky elastomeric buttons of the typical appliance, replaced by a shaped display with configurable interfaces depending on context. Free of the need for flat surfaces and mechanical switches in designs, touch displays can be integrated into many more wearable and everyday consumer devices,” he adds.
“The same revolution created by projected capacitance for touch in smartphones and tablets can now impact all kinds of smaller devices, a boon for user experience designers looking for more attractive and creative ways to present interfaces.”
Interested in learning more about Atmel’s AvantCar concept? You can check out our detailed coverage of the futuristic demo here.