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Touch user interfaces - the boost for your handheld devices

Operation with touch user interfaces is much less complex than with touch displays and therefore offers decisive advantages for handheld devices. The user interface can score particularly well when it comes to integrating operating functionality into the housing of your handheld device.

The simple touch operation for handheld devices

Hand-held devices such as electric razors and toothbrushes, tools, medical devices or remote controls are usually held and operated with one hand. This results in very special requirements in terms of size, weight, ergonomics and operation.

One such special requirement that most handheld devices have to meet is the “blind” operating option. The operating area must be able to be felt and operated without looking. 3D shaped, continuous surfaces meet this requirement through finger guidance in the form of finger recesses. With a simple touch operation, where touching also means activation at the same time, feeling the control element can mean an unintentional trigger. Gesture controls are used here.

  • Example:
    Simply touching the touch switch does not activate it, only a swiping movement along the finger recess triggers the desired action.

The all-in-one composite film

The heart of the realization of our user interfaces is a composite film specially designed for integration into smart surfaces. This combines conductor tracks, the touch sensors, electronic components, a light management system for backlit controls or displays and the decor in a compact, around 2 mm thin composite of thermoplastic foils.

This composite film can also be shaped in 3D and thus adapts perfectly to the special shape specifications of handheld devices.

In addition, other components and functions that should ideally be placed on the surface can be integrated into the film. In this way, proximity sensors, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, antennas, heating structures and the like can be ideally positioned close to the device surface.

Touch operation seamlessly and tightly integrated

Our user interfaces can be seamlessly and tightly integrated into the housing of handheld devices. For this purpose, the film circuit carrier is connected to the rest of the housing by gluing, welding or injection molding (film insert molding).

Which method is to be given preference depends on the one hand on the requirements, such as the required mechanical robustness or the tightness of the housing. On the other hand, economic aspects will have to be taken into account. An injection molding solution causes high initial costs due to tool construction and automation, which can only be amortized from a certain number of pieces. An adhesive solution is quick and easy to implement, but causes comparatively high unit costs.

Summarized the advantages of our touch operation for handheld devices

  • In terms of layout, form and feel, the user interfaces are always developed specifically for the respective device and the respective operating situation. So the service is very simple, intuitive and often too blind to execute.
  • The technology of the compact all-in-one Foil circuit carrier enables production thinner, lighter and 3D shaped user interfaces.
  • Depending on the requirements, the foil circuit carrier is seamlessly and tightly integrated into the housing of the hand-held device. In this way, the devices can also be harsh environmental conditions use and are easy to clean.

Example: User interface for hand-held devices in medical technology

Together with the customer terraplasma we have a touch user interface for the medical technology product plasma care® developed. In addition to the usual requirements for handheld devices, the customer paid particular attention to the surface properties during development, which must be taken into account for a product in medical technology. This challenge was solved by applying a special hard coat to the user interface.

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