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Open-source driver software serves touch sensors and encourages design creativity

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 6:15am
Open-source driver softwareIn order to increase the depth of support it can deliver to the market, Zytronic has introduced the first in a series of new software drivers for use with its range of Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT) touch sensors and touch controller products. This presents the industry with a more comprehensive platform on which touchscreen systems with high performance, heavy duty operation, strong accuracy levels and exciting feature sets can be built from the ground up.

Designed to work with Zytronic’s latest ZXY100 touch controller series, the initial drivers will support the increasingly popular Linux operating system, and for industrial users Microsoft Windows CE . The Linux drivers are supported on both Ubuntu 10.04 and Debian 6.01/6.02 distributions.

The ZXY100 series controllers are already designed for plug-and-play use with the in-built Windows 7 basic Human Interface Device (HID) driver, which allows touchscreen calibration. A Zytronic add-on pack to be released shortly will enable users of Windows 7 (and the forthcoming Windows 8) to tune the controller firmware directly, so that touch sensitivity, filters, overlay thickness, etc. can be readily changed to suit the individual application.

Furthermore, the Windows 7/8 add-on pack or “config tool” has been designed to be compatible with off-the-shelf multi-touch user interface software packages, such as Omnivision’s Omnitapps and Nuiteq’s Snowflake, so that the dual touch functionality of the ZXY100 controllers can be used fully.

The new drivers’ graphical user interface (GUI) has been improved, and now features a quick and simple “dashboard” style for basic users, plus an expert mode that allows access to filters and settings for more advanced users.

Finally, for users with software development capability, Zytronic is making the driver source code available for the Linux and CE versions. It is hoped that this will enable clients to develop their own bespoke driver packages to better suit their applications and end markets.

The PCT-based touch sensor products from Zytronic have gained a great deal of popularity, being specified into public use, self-service and industrial touchscreen designs all over the world. The patented sensor mechanism utilises a matrix of micro-fine (10 micron diameter) capacitors embedded into a laminated substrate, which can then be placed behind a protective overlay which can be over 10 mm in thickness. As the active element of the sensor is not on the outer surface of the screen, it avoids exposure to the environment and potential wear and tear or deliberate damage that can impair the long term operation of most other touch technologies.

“Zytronic has, over the last few years, continued to add further dimensions to the touch solutions it offers. With this latest progression, the company is now in a position to cover the hardware, firmware and software elements needed by engineers to implement next generation touchscreen assemblies into a raft of different highly demanding end applications. This will give us a significant advantage over existing solutions on the market,” states Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director for Zytronic. “We’ve made the touch controller output protocol or API available for a number of years, but by widening this to include the software driver source code, it means that engineers can create touch interfaces to suit their specific requirements - putting a greater degree of control into their hands.”

For more company information, visit Zytronic’s web site at www.zytronic.co.uk
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